Having waited 630 days between his fourth and fifth AFL games, a couple of months’ hiatus certainly wasn't going to affect Tom Murphy’s enthusiasm.
The versatile defender did plenty to impress during the pre-season and after coming into the side as a late inclusion in round one, he’s keen for more.
“It probably wasn’t the way I wanted it to go, having eight weeks off after a big pre-season and playing round one … but it definitely gave me some motivation to train harder and come back fitter and stronger, and make that round two spot,” Murphy told North Media.
The 22-year-old was tasked with a huge challenge in the season-opener, as Josh Walker and Paul Ahern went down injured in defence.
29 points down at half-time, North fought back to record a memorable victory over the Saints.
“We only had six (defenders) and no rotations with two quarters to go. It was tough for us, that’s for sure,” Murphy said.
“We hung in there and I’m very glad that siren went, because I was buggered.
“You try not to think about it (no rotations) too much … you’ve got a role to play and that’s to do your job and try and shut down your opponent.
“We had a job to do and if that means we can’t come off, we can’t come off.”
Murphy, 189 centimetres, played a key role on the likes of small-forward Jack Lonie, who stands at 175 centimetres.
His versatility to match up on opponents of all sizes sure to hold him in good stead.
“I’ve definitely got a lot to learn playing on the small forwards,” Murphy admitted.
“But I love the challenge coming up against them, and if that’s my role to shut them down I’ll take any opportunity to do that.
“I can play on mediums and talls, but that’s going to be my main role, playing on smalls, and I’ve got to adapt to that.
“Playing on small-forwards is a challenge, but I love it.”
North’s players returned to the training track on Monday, with Murphy keen to put his best foot forward.
“I’m keen to get back into it, hit the training really hard and hopefully cement that spot for the future.”