'We're heading in the right direction,' says young Lion
BRISBANE livewire Lewis Taylor is reaping the benefits of both he and his club enjoying a far more settled season than the trainwreck that was 2016.
With undeniable talent, the 22-year-old has his career back on track after what might be called third-year blues with the Lions.
With Brisbane struggling under then-embattled coach Justin Leppitsch, his own form wavered while his management thrashed out prolonged contract talks with the club.
Rivals from his home state of Victoria were said to be circling and for some "experts" the indicators were that he was going to be another Lion to walk out the door.
He eventually re-signed with a few weeks to go in the 2016 season, and with Chris Fagan appointed head coach a short time later to lead a new-look off-field team, Taylor entered 2017 with renewed optimism.
"Last year, at times it was pretty challenging," he said.
"But I suppose it's part of the game and you've got to push through and try and get back to some good form.
"I feel I've been able to do that this year."
With his general form falling from a standout debut season in 2014 - which netted him the Rising Star award - and an even better second year, the usually laid-back Taylor admitted the pressure did get to him at times last season.
"I like to think that I don't read into too much of it," he said.
"But I suppose a little bit (of pressure) can play into it at times.
"I'm one to try and move on pretty quickly and get on with things.
"Once all that (contract talk) was done it was kind of like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.
"I could just focus ahead and on what I needed to do.
"It worked out well in the end."
While an attractive proposition for rival outfits, Taylor said recommitting to Brisbane was "never in doubt".
"It's one of those things ... contracts can take a bit of time," he said.
"I was always 110% staying, looking forward to the challenge ahead.
"We're heading in the right direction. We've seen that this year.
"I was definitely not (tempted). I don't really like going back down (to Victoria) as it is.
"The group we've got up here is pretty special at the moment.
"Hopefully we can create something good for the future."
The hard-running Taylor is back averaging 20 disposals a game, and career-high tallies of 2.7 tackles and 3.3 inside-50s per game, and has booted 17 goals, including a bag of four and a couple of hauls of two.
He's worked closely with his fellow "mosquito fleeter" Dayne Zorko, as well as former captain and now assistant coach Jed Adcock.
He said the message was to "just go and play footy, play to your strengths".
"I've been able to just go out there and play ... forget about everything else," he said.
Taylor said he also has a great relationship with Fagan.
"I can guarantee all the boys would say that about Fages," he said. "He's been really, really positive."
The Lions will meet seventh-placed Melbourne tomorrow at the MCG with the hope of registering a sixth win and moving off the bottom of the ladder.
"That's what we're striving for," he said.
It's a far cry from 2016 when everyone just wanted the season to end.
"There was probably a little bit of that last year to tell you the truth," Taylor said.
"But the whole group is really bubbly now and everyone's looking forward to finishing off the season really strong, and taking some form into the 2018 season."