Taylor Adams is determined to own a position in Collingwood's midfield in 2015, saying he would be "angry" if coach Nathan Buckley wasn't thinking of giving him an opportunity to cement himself in the side.
Following the departures of Luke Ball (retired), Dayne Beams (Brisbane Lions) and Heritier Lumumba (Melbourne), Collingwood's midfield is suddenly light on for proven options.
Asked whether Buckley should consider him as a candidate to step up and fill the void, Adams was typically forthright in his response.
"I'd be p---ed off if he (Buckley) didn't," Adams told AFL Media.
"There's a handful of guys there that can do it and if I wasn't in that handful I'd be pretty angry and disappointed.
In profile: Taylor Adams.
"I think I've done enough developing to certainly step up."
Adams, 21, is set to enter his fourth season in the AFL, with 2015 marking his second year at the Westpac Centre after being part of the deal that sent Collingwood favourite Heath Shaw to Greater Western Sydney ahead of the 2014 season.
Last October, General Manager of List Management Derek Hine told collingwoodfc.com.au that his team has earmarked Adams as a player they deemed capable of going to the next level in 2015.
“With Luke Ball retiring, as that really strong inside midfielder, we think that we’ve really got that covered with Taylor Adams coming in and playing that role. His progression throughout the year prior to injury was really, really encouraging," Hine said.
“Tay’s been pretty much training non-stop since then, so that’s a real positive. He’s got a real fire in the belly to make that role his own."
Those at the Magpies say Adams, who has 43 career games under his belt, is ready to go to the next level, pointing to his increased leadership qualities around the club.
Adams sees it as his responsibility to step into the leadership breach vacated by seasoned veterans like Ball and Nick Maxwell.
"It comes with confidence. I've had a pretty good pre-season and I know the game-plan and I know where I want the club to go," Adams said.
"If I think something's wrong, then I'm not afraid to speak up and say something."
Derek Hine: Plans to replenish the midfield.
Adams managed 12 games in his first season at the Magpies.
He bounced between the VFL and the AFL for much of the first half of 2014, but proved his value with 28 disposals and seven tackles in the Magpies' thrilling six-point win over Port Adelaide in round 19.
That day, Adams played out the game with a torn ligament in his finger – an injury that would end his season the next week.
Although 2014 did not pan out the way he might have envisaged, Adams learnt a lot about what it takes to play football at a consistent level.
"I felt a fair bit of pressure last year playing in front of big crowds and once I played a couple of bad games in a row my confidence dropped and I started to doubt myself," Adams said.
"I hadn't been put under the microscope like that and it took a bit of getting used to."
Taylor Adams in Season 2014
NAB Challenge: 2
NAB Challenge: 1
Key AFL Statistics (averages in brackets):
Disposals: 230 (19.2) Marks: 34 (2.8) Tackles: 43 (3.6) Inside 50s: 26 (2.2) Contested Possessions: 97 (8.1) Clearances: 34 (2.8) Score Assists: 6 (0.5)