Port Adelaide's Willem Drew is constantly looking to enhance his role within the Power's engine room despite having already reached a career-best standard to start the 2022 season.
While the Alberton club currently sit in 14th after the opening six rounds, Drew has been a shining light as he continues to display his promising two-way capabilities in the AFL.
For the second straight year, the hard-nosed on-baller has ranked among the top handful of players in the league for tackles while enjoying an amplified reliance within Port's midfield rotations.
While his defensive prowess has continued to play a part in the Power's system, Drew is beginning to see the benefits of a new focus on improving his offensive abilities.
This year shapes as a chance for Drew to further ascend his place under senior coach Ken Hinkley, with the 23-year-old looking to strengthen his attacking mindset to do so.
"I feel like I've got a lot of growth in my game," he told Zero Hanger.
"A big part of that is probably my ball use and being able to break out of stoppages, it's something I'm trying to work on.
"I feel like that's coming along and I'm just trying to continually develop my game and become a better player.
Players in career-best form. (Four-week average, min three games) pic.twitter.com/Or5fFBqrtN
— AFL Player Ratings (@AFLPlayerRating) April 25, 2022
"... a big one for me is probably just my work rate and working hard. So that's sort of where I try and focus."
After going unused in 2020, Drew played all 24 games for the Power last season to cement his place toward the top of the club's midfield pecking order, complementing ball-winning duo Travis Boak and Brownlow medallist Ollie Wines with his defensive efforts.
Looking to reach the calibre of Wines and Boak, the North Ballarat product is hopeful his impacts with ball-in-hand can be as damaging as his ability to shut down opposition midfielders.
"That's probably been the challenge for me, to find that balance between defence and offence," Drew said.
"We have a great mix in the midfield as well, we're really confident. We feel like we're really building and hopefully can get the win this weekend."
And as far as Drew's unstoppable tackling ability, it's an aspect of his game that has been present since his junior football days in Koroit.
"I think it has been, all through my juniors and growing up," Drew said on his tacking proficiency.
"I suppose my junior coaches have made tackling a big priority and that's probably something that's just transferred through the years and something that I am continuing to do and do pride myself on."
Drew played a starring role in the Power's maiden victory of the season in Round 6 against West Coast, adding 26 touches, six clearances, 13 contested possessions and another 10 tackles to his career tally - his seventh double-digit tackle game since the start of last season.
The victory has rekindled much-needed confidence within Hinkley's squad, who remain well aware of the task at hand in the coming weeks as they seek to resurrect their campaign.
The Power will make the trip to Cairns to face a 5-1 St Kilda outfit on Saturday night, with Drew set to closely contend with Saints midfielder Jack Steele - the only player to amass more tackles than Drew in 2021.
Hoping to build on last week's 84-point win over the Eagles, Port Adelaide are yearning for another "great challenge" after a poor opening month.
"We obviously haven't been winning the games that we should have," Drew said.
"We probably feel like we've been building and played some really good footy in patches. We were really happy to get the win and we're looking to build on that and hopefully keep it going.
"We feel like we're on the right path... we're gonna stick to the things that we know that work for us and hopefully that can lead to us winning more games.
"The Saints are in some super form and it's going to be a great challenge.
"Obviously coming up against a player like Jack Steele, who's one of the best in the competition, he's a very important player for them.
"No doubt it's gonna be a great challenge."
A driving factor for Drew each week is his appreciation for the faith Port Adelaide has shown in him since his arrival to the club in 2016, having battled numerous setbacks in his first few seasons in South Australia before making his debut in 2019.
Injuries were also a factor in his gameless 2020 campaign, a year of uncertainty for Drew as his contract met its expiry at the conclusion of that same season.
The Power and Drew eventually came to an agreement on a new two-year deal, a decision the midfielder often reflects on.
"It's always hard when you have injuries and it's very, very frustrating when you feel like you're almost getting back and then something else happens again and you sort of feel like it's never-ending I suppose," Drew said of his long wait for a debut.
"I was really grateful for the club to show faith in me and to keep me around. I'm really happy to be on the park and training and playing.
"It's a lot better when you're playing compared to being in rehab."
Drew inked another extension with the Power in March this year, securing his future at Alberton Oval until the end of the 2024 season.