Elite athletes can often take on a larger than life persona. The ability to play and perform in front of thousands of passionate fans on a weekly basis opens them people up to a different kind of exposure.
With every on-field move placed under a microscope it can often be difficult for fans to look past the player and see the person they actually are in their day-to-day life, but there is far more to any footballer than is visible to the eye.
Cam Zurhaar has gained hero status at North Melbourne over his 57 games, with his contested, never say die style of football endearing him to fans nationwide.
After enduring a difficult start to the season, Zurhaar has turned his form around and kicked two goals in each of his last four games, with his 2 goal, 24 disposal performance against Gold Coast arguably his best of the season.
While players will often credit coaches or teammates for a turnaround in form, the North number 44 credits a change in his life off the field for his newfound self-belief.
“The last six weeks have definitely been a lot better for myself, I had a pretty average start to the season, I bought a dog so I think that changed a lot of things, made me a lot happier and my form went up,” Zurhaar told SEN.
“I take him for a walk twice a day and it gets me out of the house. You can never have a bad day because you come home and he’s always waiting for you smiling.
“I guess I can credit my last six weeks to my dog.”
Within the fabric of a football club are countless individuals all brought together by one thing, a love for the game.
With such a large tapestry of personalities meshing together within one environment, the ability for everyone to showcase their true selves as a hugely important part of building a positive culture within the club.
“There’s some characters and an absolute great bunch of boys down here. Everyone’s themselves which is unreal and it’s what we want at the football club,” Zurhaar said.
“Eddie Ford, one of the new draftees, he’s a ripper. He’s an interesting cat and he just goes about his business the way he wants to and we just embrace it. It’s awesome to have at the club.
“David (Noble) has been really good for us and I think he’ll be a great coach for us for the next however many years.”
An upturn in North’s fortunes has coincided with Zurhaar’s return to form, and with this weekend’s clash with the Western Bulldogs getting ever closer, the dynamic forward is up for the challenge.
“I love a tough game and I love to put my head over the footy, and that’s going to be the battle this weekend, who does is harder,” Zurhaar added.
“There’s definitely going to be some spice in the game, I think that’s what we try and bring every week as a football club. We’re not going to take a backwards step and we’re going to attack these guys.
“I think we’ll put in a tough effort and hopefully we come away with another win.”