Hawthorn youngster Blake Hardwick says rule changes have helped him and his fellow defenders have more offensive influence on games in 2021.
Averaging a career-high 23.3 disposals through the first three outings of the season, the ever-humble Hardwick suggested shifts in the game had aided his ability to find more of the ball.
"The game seems to be opening up a bit for us backs so it might be a bit easier to find the footy this year compared to previous years," Hardwick told Sportsday WA.
"It's so open and you don't get much of a break with all the stoppages as much anymore.
"It's a bit non-stop, up and back, and I'd say it's definitely more tiring."
Hardwick also added that he felt the side's recent form had shown a lot of promise, despite the ledger sitting at one win and two losses.
"We're a younger team so I think more synergy will come with the more games we play together.
"We've taken on both of the grand finalists from last year over the last two weeks and I feel like we've been in the game so if it's only up from here, that's a pretty exciting thing."