There is a widely accepted philosophy across the AFL industry that key position players almost always take longer to develop than others.
At West Lakes, Daniel Talia played just nine games in his first two seasons before winning the 2012 AFL Rising Star award while Tom Doedee spent two years learning his craft at SANFL level before a breakout season in 2018.
But with the Crows at the beginning of a rebuild, last year’s No.6 pick Fischer McAsey has been thrust straight into the spotlight and is gaining valuable experience as a result.
The 19-year-old has missed only one game to date this season, playing roles at both ends of the ground.
More importantly, he has played on quality opponents in the ilk of four-time All Australian and premiership Eagle Jeremy McGovern, St Kilda key defender Jake Carlisle and promising Gold Coast forward Ben King.
“Playing both positions is good for my development, especially early on, just to see the ground from both ends,” McAsey told AFC Media.
"It’s probably been good for me to learn the hard way, playing against those guys - especially when the team is struggling a little bit more.
McAsey was shuffled forward in Round Five and has shown promising signs with more freedom to launch himself at the Sherrin.
His contested mark running back with the flight against St Kilda is an obvious highlight, but the teenager admitted he wanted to “try and kick a few goals even though I’ve shanked a few”.
With training restrictions in-place due to strict COVID protocols, McAsey wasn’t immediately able to begin full-time training with the forwards group but has reaped benefits since making the switch.
“Slowly getting more comfortable at the level, even if it doesn’t translate into more stats. I think I’m learning my craft better and feeling more comfortable out there,” McAsey said.
“Last week was probably the first full week I had training with the forwards, so I probably learned more of the leading patterns and I think that helped me in the game.
“I think that came out a little bit in the game, had more opportunities and it was helped by (that) we had some great ball movement at times, so it was good being a forward.
“Those couple of things came together for us and there were some more promising signs, but we probably need to finish off my work a little more with my marking and I’ll get to work on that during this week.”
McAsey said he was “really desperate for a win” after Adelaide’s 0-8 start to the season and last weekend’s heartbreaking loss to Essendon would drive the Crows ahead of Saturday’s clash with North Melbourne.
“I feel like we’ve been building nicely and shown some promising signs, but we always want to win games of footy. That’s what we’re here to do and it was shattering losing on the weekend,” he said.
“It’ll make the boys more hungry for a win (this week).”