The Bears can thank the Royal Australian Navy for helping to turn their veteran No.7 Kieran Fisher into the player and the person he is today, as he shifted from one high functioning, structured setting to another when he returned to the club in 2011 after a two-year stint in the whites.
And at the end of this season the 29-year-old may retire to focus more on his wife, Sammy, their seven-month-old daughter, Charlotte, and perhaps another child.
Wouldn’t the man who recently played his 100th first-grade game for Norths love to go out with a fifth straight premiership.
As one of the few remaining survivors of North Tamworth’s gutting sequence of five straight grand final losses to West Lions from 2009-13, the resilient No.7 knows enough about painful losses to never get complacent about the Bears’ four consecutive premierships from 2014-17.
Norths returned in 2018 with a new coach, in captain Scott Blanch, following Brad McManus’ three-year reign. But Fisher said the side’s structure had remained largely the same, aside from some individual flourishes Blanch had implemented.
That’s the way Fisher likes it. He “thrives” on it.
“All us blokes get on,” he said, referencing a factor for the team’s success. “But more so from a football side of things [explains the dominance].
“There’s not a lot of changes from year to year. We’ve got similar players. We may lose one or two, or gain one or two, but there’s not a lot of change.
“And we sort of know each other and how we play the game. So you don't have to adjust too much on the run.”
Fisher played his 100th game in second-placed Norths’ last match, a 58-4 away win over Boggabri. He will play game No.101 against Dungowan under lights at home on Saturday.
Much has been made of Blanch’s form as the five-eighth puppeteer of Norths’ lethal left-edge attack. While Fisher is effusive in his praise of his captain-coach and good friend, he can quickly pivot, like all good halfbacks, to give his edge and the side’s middle a plug.
“If you watch the game closely, you’ll notice it’s the middle and the right edge where we sort of pull the [opposition] defense together. And then Blanchy’s got a lot of space, and he’s got some good attacking weapons outside him as well.”
Blanch said Fisher was a “great player and an even better bloke”.
“He loves the game and he will always give you his best,” said the former Manly signing. “The last three or four years he has got better and better.”