ANGUS Brayshaw's shift to half-back has coincided with a growing belief across Narrm's playing group after last year's premiership win.
The 26-year-old – who has a third-place Brownlow finish as an inside midfielder under his belt – was shifted from the wing to defence at the start of the 2022 season after Christian Salem sustained a knee injury against the Western Bulldogs in round one.
He's now sitting first at the Dees for marks (8.5), third for average effective disposals (18.3) and third for intercepts (6.6).
"We've got some really good leaders back there. 'Maysy' (Steven May), (Jake) Lever and even Harrison Petty, some blokes who have been great in helping me set up. That's the attitude of our whole group, it's a team-first mindset, so whatever the team needs," Brayshaw told AFL.com.au.
"It's a little bit different, but I like to think it's a strength, the ability to adapt to roles. I'm not the quickest footballer out there, so to have decision-making and being able to read the game well is probably something I need to have in order to keep up, that translates well to that high half-back role when you're watching your forward, the ball and the contest.
"We've got some awesome defenders who have helped me out a heap, I'm just trying to play my role, not get in 'Maysy's' way and get yelled at too much, but so far, so good."
Brayshaw's win-loss before 2021 was 42-52 (including just five wins from 22 games in a tough 2019), but the last 18 months have swung right around to 72-1-56, capped off with the premiership triumph at the end of last year.
The Dees are currently sitting undefeated with 10 victories, having won 17 on the trot.
"It's night and day, chalk and cheese. It's hard to put into words, but it's a powerful feeling. On the other side of the coin, you can feel like nothing's going right and you get out there and it feels a bit hopeless at times,” Brayshaw said.
"Things are never perfect on the footy field, the coaches are big on that; don't expect perfection, mop up on mistakes and don't get too worried about hitting every kick. But in the past if you missed a kick, it was one of those days, whereas now we just reset, we know we can win, and it's a calming influence over the team.
"You look at a team like North who are really frantic and swarm round the contest, and we were really calm and absorbed the pressure and backed ourselves in instead of panicking.
"We've worked really hard to get to that point. It's my eighth year and in the first six, we didn't really have that sense of belief and confidence."