You’d forgive any player, let alone a three-gamer who had just broken into the side for feeling a little uneasy when the season came to a grinding halt. 

But for Curtis Taylor, that wasn’t the case.

Rather than dwell on not being able to play, the emerging North Melbourne forward used the game’s hiatus to work on his craft. 

“It didn’t frustrate me at all, Taylor told North Media.

 “I looked at it as a positive, and I was really motivated throughout the whole eight-week period. 

“The taste of getting more AFL footy was the motivation for me. I knew once footy did come back, that I wanted to build on where I left off.”

 Taylor was one of the Roos’ best performers in the gutsy Round 1 win over St Kilda, which came off the back of an equally-impressive Marsh Series. 

“It gave me the confidence to know I can play at that level, and I want to get better from that,” he said.

“(When the shutdown commenced) ‘Shawry’ (Rhyce Shaw) told us that it was an opportunity to work on anything we wanted to improve, and that’s how I saw it. .

“I wanted to use the eight-week period to get a jump on the competition, for myself, and as a team.

“I took myself to my holiday house in Echuca, and took some weights up there.  There’s a footy oval two minutes away as well, so it was a nice to be able to get away from the Melbourne bubble and really focus on training.

“If I was ever in a running session on my own and it was a grind, I would think of the outcome and what it was going do for me.” 

As well as the carat of more senior footy, Taylor found motivation from his teammates.

“We had so much connection and contact over the break, it was easy to keep motivation up,” he said.

“There was a forward line group that caught up a lot, and the leaders were fantastic in keeping in touch and checking in. 

“Jade Rawlings in particular was someone I had a lot of contact with, which was really good for the education side of my game.” 

The number 31 has impressed on the track since training resumed, and says he is getting used to the “new normal.” 

“Everything is pretty different at the club,” he explained.

“But it’s becoming the new normal, and we’re getting used to the heat tests and extra hygiene (laughs).  

“The boys have all come back in really good nick. We had a good program in place, which has helped with a smooth transition back into training.” 

A highly-touted draft prospect in 2018, many were surprised Taylor fell to North Melbourne at pick 46.

And his start to the 2020 season suggests Roos’ fans have plenty of cause for excitement.

“For me it’s about playing with my natural flair, within the team structure,” he said. 

“We are in a forward-line that is very versatile and we have our own tricks, and we want to keep bringing those to the table, while doing the right thing by the team.”

Alongside Cameron Zurhaar (22), Nick Larkey (22) and Tarryn Thomas (20), the 20-year-old forms part of an emerging front six. 

“It’s very exciting that we’re all getting a taste of senior footy at this stage in our career,” Taylor added.

“It gives us confidence in the work we’ve put it in.  There’s a lot of upside and scope to improve as players. 

“We’re young and energetic, and we play like that on the field. It’s a good place to be.”

Taylor and the Roos face their first test upon a return to footy, facing GWS at GIANTS Stadium on June 14.