For Geelong VFL midfielder Marcus Herbert, the 2022 season is centred around consistency and ultimately cementing his reputation in state-league football.
The South Warrnambool export is building strongly after breaking into the Cats' side in the round three win against Brisbane, before holding his spot in the past weekend's loss against Southport.
The former Greater Western Victoria Rebel gathered 20 disposals, nine clearances and four tackles against the Lions and laid six tackles against the experienced Sharks outfit on the Gold Coast to impress onlookers.
"I was pretty happy with my first game against Brisbane, it felt like I was in good form but I think (against Southport) we all had a bit of a stinker to be honest, we were dismantled," he told The Standard.
"But I feel really fit and I want to just continue building on my form throughout the year."
The 20-year-old said the Geelong coaches had been working hard with him on his game - in particular the ability to impact at stoppages and bring his teammates into the game.
"They want me to be a consistent onballer every quarter basically, whether that is score involvements, getting forward, and they're huge on playing your role," he said.
"If you play your role, the possessions will come - (pressure) is also huge, at this level there is big bodies and quick players and if you can pin those tackles and get repeat stoppages it allows more goal opportunities for the team."
Herbert is listed with Leopold in the strong Geelong Football League where he played in the opening round, and with the Cats to have a bye this weekend the youngster will likely ply his trade at local level.
He said the step up from local footy to VFL is quite noticeable, pointing to the speed of the game as something which takes getting used to.
"It can be a bit of a challenge, they're two different types of games for sure," he said.
"GFL is a great standard and quite a good competition but the VFL is really quick and the players are stronger.
"The biggest difference is just the speed of the game."
He says his focus for this season is about doing what is required for his team at whatever level he is picked each week.
"There's a lot of things, cementing my spot, but it can be week-to-week depending on the AFL boys and their availability but I want to play strong, consistent footy," he said.
"If I do that on a regular basis, the rest will take care of itself I think."
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