THIS is rather unfamiliar territory for Lachie Whitfield.
Still fresh-faced and youthful in his style, it's perhaps easy to forget the Giants flyer has already chalked up 173 games as he approaches his 28th birthday.
And over that journey he hasn't experienced too many knocks on the field, if any at all.
Outside of some injury setbacks, the in-game trajectory has constantly tracked upward, as was expected of the No.1 draft pick from 2012.
A couple of best and fairest awards, an All-Australian jacket, a Grand Final appearance and two prelims in a largely exhilarating career to date.
But such is the predicament in the early stages of 2022 for the 1-5 Giants that criticism has come for one of their biggest stars, with former Saint Leigh Montagna claiming Whitfield is 'a bit symptomatic of this club a little bit. He's just floating. He's doing nothing'.
It's commentary that doesn't often make the headlines in Sydney but nevertheless, Whitfield is far from defensive over his slow start to the season.
"I actually didn't hear it so that's a bit of news that didn't make it up here but I'm not shying away from the fact that I'm a bit out of form," he told AFL.com.au.
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"If I knew what it was it'd be fixed already. I'm just trying to do all the basics well and make sure I'm in the right spots at the right time.
"As a leadership group we're all a little bit out of form and that perhaps flows onto the whole group. It only takes me to be five per cent better, Cogs (Stephen Coniglio) to be five per cent better, Josh (Kelly) as well, and then the young boys coming with us and that turns a loss to a win.
"I'd love to be playing better footy and being better with my feet, it's just not happening at the minute but we're trying hard, we're doing the extras, we're having meetings, it's not like we're just rocking up and going out there to not play good footy, we're trying to fix it."
Last week's high-stakes loss to the Saints had many putting a line through the Giants' hopes of playing finals football but they are remaining calm through the firestorm. And defiant.
"It'd be harder if we were a Melbourne-based team but we can avoid the media a bit more here. You still hear bits and pieces and rightfully so, we've had a poor start," he said.
"We don't feel we're that far off. If we tweak a thing here or there it can change pretty quickly. That's got a lot to do with mentality. If you string together two to three wins in a row, all of a sudden you're the ‘it' team and your season can be turned around."
The Giants' predicament has been compounded by the situation surrounding coach Leon Cameron.
Out of contract at the end of the season and with talks shelved until then, the commentary around their struggles is only exacerbated by the uncertainty that exists over the head coaching role.
The weight of that, however, isn't lost on Whitfield.
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"Leon obviously puffs the chest out and tries to protect all of us as players and that's a burden that the coach carries," he said.
"He has to take that all on but he's still been great. He's the same coach that we had all those years ago that was winning all those games.
"Times change and so do people but he's still got the full trust of all of us as players and we're just trying to turn things around for him at the moment."
That can start with a stirring win away from home this weekend when they take on the in-form Adelaide, which is on the rise under a former member of the Giants brains trust.
"It's going to be an exciting one, I personally love playing at the Adelaide Oval."
"Matty Nicks is an ex-coach of ours and knows us pretty well so it's going to be another hard game.
"They're playing really good footy, they're running really hard to outnumber and they're clean.
"The best way to get out of a slump is to beat the good teams."