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Mindset shift for Bastinac after getting dropped

Of all the things Chris Fagan did well coaching his first season at Brisbane, perhaps his best accomplishment was revitalising the careers of players that had seemingly plateaued. 

Rising Star winner Lewis Taylor had free-fallen the previous two years, but under Fagan he recaptured his attacking flair, took simple options and became a better player.

Josh Walker, at 24 and in his sixth season, was treading water as a forward, went back to the NEAFL and returned as a contested marking weapon that could play either end of the ground.

And then there was Ryan Bastinac.

After six seasons at North Melbourne and one at the Lions, he was dropped after round five and looked like being passed by the club's young brigade of draft picks.

Yet after a stint in the NEAFL, the 26-year-old came back and played the final 13 matches and was a totally new player.

He was working hard both ways, racking up disposals (19 a game) and kicking goals (16 in the last 13 weeks).

Bastinac told that when he was dropped to the reserves, it was Fagan's honesty that helped get the best out of him.

"When you get that news it's not good, no player really likes it," Bastinac said. 

"He just called me into his office and was honest with what he said and that's all you can ask. 

"I respected it and it made me better for the second half of the year. 

"I was pretty clear on what I needed to do to get back in the side."

Bastinac spent four weeks in the NEAFL and said his mindset was to be best on ground every week.

"I went back with the right attitude," he said.

"It was hard to take it, but you can either look at it negatively and go into your shell or you can look at it positively and work your backside off to get back in as soon as possible, and that's the approach I took."

Bastinac said he found a new work ethic after being dropped, spending more time at the club, particularly working with development coach Zane Littlejohn.

"I tried to work on the things the team needed me to work on. 

"When I came back (to the seniors) I felt the difference, I was more intense, I was impacting games, I was on my toes. 

"Previously I didn't notice that, but once I had that talk with Fages, when I came back I noticed when I wasn't doing it, compared to when I was. 

"When my intensity dropped, those things Fages wanted me to work on, crept into my game.

"I just want to improve again and do the things I was doing in the second half of the year all through the pre-season.

"I was ok in the second half of the year, but I want to take that to another level."

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs