A mature head on young shoulders, it can be easy to forget that Curtis Taylor is still just 21 years old with only 17 games of AFL football under his belt.
After sustaining a nasty concussion during the Round 1 clash with Port Adelaide, Taylor earned his spot back in Round 5 and has been an ever-present in North Melbourne’s side since.
The number five is currently averaging career-highs in disposals (12) and tackles (2.3) per game, but his added defensive intensity has not come it at the expense of his flair-filled forward play, as he's spent more time on the wing.
Taylor says he thinks spending that added time on the wing will aid his long-term prospects, by improving his versatility.
“In the times when things aren’t going your way your defence can get you into the game. The tackles are non-negotiables that we need to do as part of the team, so I’ve been trying to bring the intensity,” he told North Media.
“‘Nobes’ (David Noble) said this year I was going to spend a bit of time on the wing, which I’m happy with.
“Experiencing both roles by playing a bit of wing and a bit forward shows that with our younger group, ‘Nobes’ wants to develop us in multiple areas.”
A key theme across North’s season so far has been process and development, and for Taylor it’s no different.
As part of North’s large group of talented, high-potential youngsters, he knows the pressure is on to become the best footballer he can be.
He says the pathway for his improvement has been laid out in front of him, and he just needs to work hard.
“I just need to continue on an upwards trajectory you could almost say, just continuing to try and improve my form and consistency,” Taylor said.
“[I’ll keep] working on the things the coaches want me to work on and try to build on the body of work I’ve put in already.”
Like many players at North, the time experienced between wins was a lot longer than he would have liked.
He says the playing group maintained the belief that victory would come sooner rather than later, and that the team’s young players deserve to enjoy it.
“Obviously there was a bit of pressure from the outside noise to get the first win, but inside we kept the faith in what we were building,” Taylor said.
“We could see we were building each week, especially over the last couple of games, so to get that win on the weekend was a good reward for all the effort we’ve put in.
“[To] let the younger boys who haven’t experienced a win experience what it’s like was pretty special. It was a special day for everyone.”