JEREMY Finlayson says a challenge late last year by coach Leon Cameron has proven to be the catalyst behind his career best form.
Before this season, the GWS academy product taken with pick No.85 in the 2014 AFL draft had notched 26 matches in four years with the Giants.
But this season Finlayson has cemented his spot in the Giants' line-up having played 22 matches including all three finals victories.
"At the end of last year Leon challenged me to live by myself and take on more responsibility," Finlayson said.
"It's the best thing I have ever done.
"Initially I lived with a host family before moving in with some of the other players for the last couple of years."
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Finlayson have proven hard to combat in attack as a third tall marking target alongside Jeremy Cameron and Harry Himmelberg.
He has booted 44 goals including seven so far during the finals series.
"Everyone has been asking me 'why are you kicking so many goals?,' he said.
"I just think I'm more of a natural forward because that's where I played as a kid.
"When I first started getting a game at GWS they were playing me in defence which was a bit foreign to me."
Despite playing the first nine matches of last season, Finlayson revealed he was struggling with the constant grind of playing at the elite level.
The athletic tall decided to return home to Culcairn for a mental refresh after round nine.
"I remember in round 9 last year my head space wasn't right and I kind of lost my passion for football," he said.
"I didn't realise how hard AFL was.
"But this year we have got a psychologist at the club which is helpful for not only me but all of the boys.
"I definitely think having Darren the psychologist here to fall back on has helped me through some tough times and play some consistent football."
Finlayson said Cameron has always shown enormous faith in him and had help to instill the confidence he needed to play AFL.
"Leon always told me that I had the talent to make it," he said.
"I just had to knuckle down on a few things.
"Obviously being a country kid I didn't really have that fitness base that the kids that play Vic Metro and Vic Country have.
"I guess I just had to work really hard for four years to get where I am today.
"You just never know what's going to happen on Saturday.
"If it does happen and we win the flag - wow, I'll look back on all the highs and lows that I've had.
"There's plenty of tough times so that's why you have to savour the good times."