TIM Fitzgerald knows a team-first attitude can help Camperdown's new-look forward line hit the scoreboard.
The 38-year-old, who has returned to the senior fold in 2022, hopes his five-goal performance in the club's win against Terang Mortlake will force opposition to reconsider double-teaming star teammate Sam Gordon.
Gordon, one of the Hampden league's best key forwards, is no stranger to battling multiple defenders. Fitzgerald was able to cash in on Saturday, booting his best-ever goal return in Magpies colours.
"I've just got to have that knowledge to not get too close to Sam, that's where my experience probably comes in a bit," Fitzgerald, who captains South West Cricket outfit Bookaar, said.
"I was a full-forward for years and I realise Sam's predicament a bit, getting doubled-teamed. If the ball is deep enough, we're able to work together and block for each other.
I was a full-forward for years and I realise Sam's predicament a bit, getting doubled-teamed. If the ball is deep enough, we're able to work together and block for each other.- Tim Fitzgerald
"But Sam's getting doubled-teamed and is still clunking them. There were a couple of times I got a bit too close to him and my man went over to him and he still went up and beat them, which is good. If he doesn't, I'm free on the ground."
He played 12 reserves games in 2021 in a bid to give younger players an opportunity in the top grade but with several seniors exits through the off-season, has earned a senior recall as a guiding hand.
"I said last year 'play all the young guys' and we had really good numbers but this year we've been a little bit lower," Fitzgerald said.
"(Coach) Nev (Swayn) said I'd done a full pre-season and felt like he wanted to reward for me for that and we've lost six or seven so I've cracked it in the ones.
"Nev said 'now we've got lots of kids and we need some experienced mixed through. He's liking that. I don't think there's another 30-year-old in our team. I think 28, 29 is the next one. There's a big difference there but we're a very young team through the midfield and back-line."
Fitzgerald said his experience as an assistant coach of the under 18 side meant he knew plenty of the Magpies' youth and their strengths and weaknesses.
"I coach a lot of them in cricket too, so I've got a good relationship with a lot of them," he said.
"We've always been confident in our club, I know there's a lot of other sides, critics and media writing us off and we've lost a few and that's been well-documented. But we've picked up a couple, Simpson guys that've played a bit of Geelong footy here and there.
"They're probably not as talented as what we've lost but they're good, hard, give 100 per cent footballers."
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