Sam’s no Fish out of water

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Sam Fisher is beginning to string together some consistent performances in Blue. (PHOTO CREDIT: Amy Paton)

Improving by the week. That’s the opinion of senior coach Josh Fraser on Sam Fisher.

The first-year Northern Blue arrived at the club after a year on the rookie list at the Sydney Swans.

As one of five Blues to play every game for the club so far this season, Fisher’s output has been on an upwards trajectory across his nine games.

It ended in arguably his best game for the club so far in 2018, despite Northern going down to Richmond five days ago.

Fisher recorded 28 disposals, nine inside 50s, seven clearances and seven tackles in a physical game against the Tigers: conditions which Northern’s number nine seemed to relish.

As he builds throughout the season, his stat-line now sees him ranked number two at the club for disposals (157), contested possessions (80),  tackles (59) and clearances (33) — behind Tom Wilson.

His tackle count also sees him rank in the top 10 in the VFL, with his best effort being his 11-tackle performance in the club’s Round 5 win against Frankston.

Still just 20 years of age, Fisher’s form line has warranted praise from coach Fraser.

“He keeps getting better, ‘Fish’,” Fraser said.

“There’s more understanding of how to win his contest and structure up at stoppages. He’s having more impact on games every week.

“He’s becoming a really effective midfielder for us now.”

After becoming acclimatised to the rough and tumble of the VFL early in the piece, he has steadily progressed by the game to elevate his performance.

It’s something which Fraser believes has come about from his work on the track.

“I think his form has built well over the last month —  he’s been doing a lot of work during the week around his first-hands and stoppage work,” Fraser said.

“He knows his challenge is to take his fitness to another level, which will allow him to spread from stoppage and take the next step.

“To his absolute credit, his drive and capacity to learn has taken his game to another level, and he’s fit into our group really well.”

Fisher is one of eight Northern players that makes up the club’s leadership group in 2018, and the only first-year Blue in the role.

“He’s definitely got some leadership qualities that are a bit untapped at the moment, so we’re going to keep working hard on that side of things,” Fraser said.

“He’s still a young player at 20, but he’s having an impact against seasoned VFL midfielders and AFL-listed players.”

Fisher will be hoping to enjoy his second win as a Northern Blue when they head to Olympic Park Oval this Sunday to take on Collingwood. The game begins at 11:30am.