MELBOURNE'S Tom McDonald hopes he can use his expedition to the forward line as a way of breaking out of the funk he has found himself in in the past month.
McDonald was being talked up as an All Australian candidate alongside key defenders Alex Rance and Michael Hurley after a stellar start to the 2015 season.
But the 22-year-old has hit a flat patch since conceding seven goals to Collingwood's Travis Cloke in round 10.
That's why kicking two first-half goals in the Demons' 24-point win over the Brisbane Lions after starting the game in the forward line was so beneficial for his confidence.
"Roosy (Melbourne coach Paul Roos) texted me during the week and said 'Get ready to start forward,'" McDonald told AFL.com.au after Sunday's game.
"It was really exciting. I hadn't done it (play forward) since under-16s or under-17s. I'm not sure if it's a permanent thing – it probably won't be, but maybe in the future it comes in handy every now and then."
Roos shifted McDonald into attack for the final quarter of the round 15 match against Essendon and the Demons coach now knows he has a legitimate 'swingman' at his disposal.
"It was a bit of a stab in the dark last week at three-quarter time to try and get back in the game, and he was able to generate something," Roos said.
"He's a very good athlete as we know, and he looked like he had some natural instincts."
McDonald said it was nice to know he could play at either end of the ground.
"I needed to find a way to get through the bad patch, because I wasn't playing as good a footy as I would have liked," McDonald said.
"Some things were going well, some things were going poorly. I'm still working through that, but maybe [Sunday] helps me break out of a bit."
Roos said it remained to be seen where McDonald would play in coming weeks.
"In the short term we'd probably start him again forward, but I think he’s the sort of player that can help us at either end," he said.
"We haven't normally played an extra defender this year, but we did in the second half, for the last 15 minutes in the second quarter and a bit in the last.
"He (McDonald) was able to do that and read the ball really well, so it gives you another dimension to your game also."