Former All-Australian defender Tyson Hartwig has hinted he could pinch-hit in attack for Wangaratta Rovers.
Rovers head into the season with realistic top three hopes, a position they haven't held since Sydney Swans' premiership co-captain Barry Hall played in 2012.
"It was a really young group then with no kind of fanfare or no big recruits coming into the season, it wasn't until we got Barry Hall halfway through the year that changed but, apart from that, it came down to our development," he explained.
"We played a run and gun style of footy and that's what got us into that finals series."
That attacking style might be the only similarity to the Hawks' charge to the preliminary final with co-coach Daryn Cresswell also implementing a free-flowing, exciting brand.
When Hartwig left the league, he was the league's best fullback, making the 2012 All-Australian team, alongside Sydney Swans' best and fairest Dane Rampe.
Thirty-three in April, Hartwig spent two years with Essendon Doutta Stars and another two with Doncaster.
"I'll start in the backline and I might play in the forward line here or there, I'll just be trying to get a kick to be honest," he offered.
"We've got a lot of other players with a lot of dash and flair running around, I'll be there to just try and finish off their good work if I'm forward or use my strength as a backman, if needed, to shut down someone and let the other players bounce off and run the ball, that's the style we're looking to play.
"Where I play might depend on injuries and our VFL list, Nathan Cooper (Richmond VFL) , I'm not taking his spot any week (laughs), he gets that key spot, but if there was a reason where he wasn't playing, either in the VFL or injured, then I guess 'Crezza' (Cresswell) might look at me."
The former Rovers' captain flirted with the forward line in Melbourne.
"It was the final five games of the year at both clubs, I personally really enjoyed it, whether I get up there comes down to what 'Crezza' wants, but it gets my interest, finally being able to attack the ball, being proactive rather than reactive," he said.
At 190cms and a powerful 102kgs, Hartwig was honest when quizzed if he will be the same player.
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"With the quality of players at all the other teams, would I have the same standard compared to 2015? The answer's probably no," he said candidly.
"But that won't stop me trying my darndest to be a good player in the competition, out of my own personal pride, I expect a lot out of myself."