Western Bulldogs forward-turned-defender Josh Schache says he loved being back in the AFL team, albeit in a new on-field role.
Having last played in round seven against Richmond, Schache was recalled for the top-of-the-table clash against Melbourne.
But instead of playing forward – as many expected – it was straight to defence for the 23-year-old, registering 17 disposals, six marks and seven intercepts in the 20-point win.
“I guess I haven’t played a whole lot back there, but it’s a role I’m obviously willing to take on,” Schache told westernbulldogs.com.au post-match.
“I always made sure that I kept myself going and kept myself motivated - there had been a bit of time in between running out with the boys, but I just wanted to make sure that I kept myself ready so whenever that opportunity arose, I was ready to take it.
“I guess it gives you a bit of confidence when the coaches obviously have a bit of faith in you, that I can go down there and work with the boys down there.
“I felt really excited by it, and just coming in it felt like a whole new game to me. It was really exciting and I loved it.”
It quickly became a baptism of fire for Schache, especially after losing key defender Alex Keath to a hamstring injury midway through the first quarter.
“Obviously it wasn’t the best case with Keathy going down – he’s been unreal this year, and has been a real staple for us down in defence,” Schache said.
“All the boys stood up, and a few had to play a lot taller than what they usually did.
“Everyone was just playing their roles to the best of their ability and we came out obviously better for it.”