Todd Banfield has become somewhat of a forgotten man among those outside the Hyundai Centre.
Banfield made a name for himself in just his second AFL season (2009), playing in every one of the Lions’ 22 senior games and kicking 27 goals – the third most of any player at the Club.
Such was his impact up forward, he received an AFL Rising Star nomination and was even selected to represent Australia in the International Rules Series at the end of 2010.
Banfield was just as productive the following season, finishing third once again in the Club’s goal-kicking (with 24 goals) and securing a career-best 8th position in the Best and Fairest award – his second consecutive top 10 finish.
However, the West Australian’s 2012 campaign reaped just six goals from 12 matches as he battled with injuries and struggled to reclaim the same blistering form.
The emergence of Dayne Zorko and Josh Green during his absence also generated greater competition for that small forward role.
Banfield now finds himself as one of just four senior players yet to taste senior action in 2013 – along with Jesse O’Brien, Michael Close and Patrick Wearden.
He has spent the first half of the season developing a more rounded game with the Lions Reserves in the NEAFL, which will ultimately enable him to play in a greater variety of positions – and not solely as a small forward.
Reserves Coach Leigh Harding said one of the key areas of focus had been on improving Banfield’s capacity to run for longer in games, rather than just in short bursts.
“Todd has been playing on the wing mainly,” Harding told lions.com.au.
“He’s been working on the good running patterns that come with the role. These days you really need to be able to run forward and back.
“He’s really taken the role on well. We would have probably liked for him to hit the scoreboard a bit more, but he puts on a lot of pressure and drives the ball inside 50 regularly.