Taylor Garner’s so far successful return to North Melbourne’s AFL side has been one of the feel-good stories of 2021.
The injury-hit 27-year old has hit the ground running, booting 6 goals in his first two games of the season.
Not many people know Garner better than teammate, and former housemate, Luke McDonald.
“We’ve been on the list together for about eight years … and the last few years we were living together, so we’re close,” McDonald told North Media.
“There’s never been any doubt about his (Garner’s) talent, it’s just been getting out there … he puts a lot into his body, so it’s good to see him getting a little bit of reward after a frustrating few years.
“I have this little bench at my house, and he used to sit on it all the time with this little massage ball. He ended up snapping the bench, that’s how much he was on it.”
While he’s only played two senior games for the season so far, Garner had been biding his time and building his confidence at VFL level.
A senior player in a young VFL group, he played in North’s first four competitive fixtures of the VFL season, as well as taking part in a number of practice games beforehand.
McDonald says the intensive body of work Garner has put in is now paying dividends.
“He’s (Garner) got a bit of continuity now with his footy. He played I think five or six VFL games before coming into the AFL team,” he said.
“It was probably a little bit frustrating but it allowed him to get a lot of confidence in his body. He wouldn’t have played this many games in a row for a long time.
“I think he’s just playing footy and not worrying about his body.”
A former top-20 draft pick, Garner’s abilities have never been doubted by those within the walls at Arden Street, with the forward being rewarded with a new contract, after playing just two games in 2020.
McDonald hopes Garner can stay in the team long enough to properly showcase his talents like never before.
“It’s good to see him getting out there and having an impact. He’s very capable,” he added.
“There’s never been any doubt about his talent, it’s just been getting his body right to get out there.”