Mitch Brown and Nathan Vardy work hard at Cats training
It's a tough team to break into – probably the hardest in the competition. But I'm feeling confident in myself
GEELONG'S Mitch Brown remains convinced he can make it at the highest level, despite playing only five AFL games in his four seasons with the club.
Brown's name was regularly mentioned during last year's trade period, with the Western Bulldogs among the clubs that were linked to him.
However, the 22-year-old has recommitted himself to the Cats and hopes his hard work on the track this summer will lead to more chances at the highest level in 2013.
"(The trade period) was interesting," Brown told AFL.com.au. "I guess with the (lack of) opportunities, I wanted to play a bit more AFL footy.
"But I never really came close to leaving. I'm more than happy to be at Geelong and that's where my head's at, at the moment.
"It's a big year for me, so hopefully I can play some decent footy and get some AFL games."
Brown has battled hard to make an impression on the track in recent months.
"It's probably been my first full pre-season without any injuries, so I'm feeling fitter and stronger and I can't want for the NAB Cup to come around," he said.
"It's a tough team to break into – probably the hardest in the competition.
"But I'm feeling confident in myself, so if I'm playing well enough, hopefully I'll get an opportunity and I can make the most of it."
Brown arrived at Geelong as a highly-touted goal-kicking prospect, but his development was held up by a horror run with injuries, including a broken leg and two shoulder reconstructions.
Although he played only three AFL games in 2012, he did produce some impressive form in the VFL.
He played 18 VFL games for the Cats, was named in the bests seven times, and was part of the team that beat Port Melbourne in the Grand Final.
"I felt pretty good last year," Brown said. "I played out the whole season, which I hadn't done before in my four years here.
"It definitely gave me a lot of confidence, so hopefully this year I can use that."
Having played a lot of footy across half-back last year, Brown is also now a more versatile player.
"I've trained both forward and back in the pre-season," he explained.
"I think 'Scotty' (Cats coach Chris Scott) likes players that can play in more than one position, so I guess that makes it a little bit easier to maybe get a game.
"But it's still going to be pretty tough."
Adam McNicol covers Geelong news for AFL.com.au. Follow him on Twitter at @AFL_AdamMcNicol