Back in favour, athletic Lion gets up and running
TOM Cutler appears ready to finally cement his spot in the Brisbane Lions - albeit it's taken longer than he and the club would've liked.
Supremely athletic, the 191cm Victorian was part of the 2013 intake alongside Lewis Taylor, Darcy Gardiner, Nick Robertson and Dan McStay.
While Lewis has gone on to play 90 games, injury and form have restricted Cutler.
Barring any more setbacks he will next week join the other four as a 50-gamer.
The 23-year-old has been one of the form players of the past three weeks, since forcing his way back into the side after being on the outer since round 18 last year.
Cutler said his axing was "all fair", and he had "attacked" the pre-season in an effort to improve his game.
"I had some really good games but they (the Lions' coaching staff) wanted to see more consistency ... not fall off when the team isn't going so well," he said, adding that he had "worked on every part of my game - nothing specific. I want to become better in all facets".
Positioning had, however, been an issue after his more permanent shift to the wing.
"I hadn't actually played a lot there," he said.
Cutler said he had been personally boosted by the arrival of Luke Hodge.
"The direction he provides gives you so much confidence," he explained. "That rubs off on your game. You can focus on the ball instead of asking yourself the question, 'Am I in the right spot?'"
Cutler collected 21 disposals in his return against Port Adelaide in round three, and then picked up a further 26 as the busy link man in the narrow loss to the Suns last week.
Also kicking a goal from the boundary line in the game against the Power at the Adelaide Oval, Cutler happily gestured back to a Power supporter who was trying to put him off his kick.
Hodge has been rested for this evening's clash with the GWS Giants at Spotless Stadium, with Daniel Rich returning and big man Oscar McInerney to debut.
"He's a guy that a lot of people might not know about," Cutler said of McInerney. "But he just keeps adding to his game as a development ruck."
Today: Cats v Swans 1.45pm, Roos v Power 2.10pm, Giants v Lions 4.35pm, Hawks v Saints 7.25pm, Crows v Suns 7.40pm