FORMER No.1 draft pick Paddy McCartin says he is over his concussion issues and hoping to be at an AFL club again next year, even if it isn't St Kilda.
The key forward was delisted at the end of last season by the Saints to focus on his recovery from significant concussion concerns that had plagued his career with the club.
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However, the Saints allowed him access to their facilities as he worked through the debilitating symptoms, and he has been a regular at Moorabbin throughout the pre-season working on his fitness.
The AFL looks set to make condense club list sizes as a result of the financial fallout from the coronavirus, but McCartin hopes to be back at a club for 2021.
"I'm really hoping that someone anywhere would potentially take a chance [on me] because the fire's burning pretty deep and I want to play. It's just about getting that opportunity," McCartin told SEN.
"The Saints have been incredible and an amazing support. I have been going in there just as much as if I was on a list. I've been in there a lot. They've been really, really good letting me use the facilities and setting up training programs.
"I'd love to keep playing for the Saints but there's no guarantees in footy and we'll have to wait and see what happens, but fingers crossed."
After being the first choice in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft, McCartin played 35 games in five years with the club, but none in 2019.
The goalkicker, who turns 24 this week, said he would be open to playing elsewhere as he continued his training while the competition is in shutdown.
"I'm open to everything, and I think the Saints are too," he said.
"As annoying as this coronavirus situation has been for everyone, for me it's not been a bad thing really because I'm making up a lot of this ground that I would've been doing at the club while everyone was playing, but nobody is playing at the moment. It's sort of like an off-season.
"Realistically I'm good to go now. I've got a bit to make up fitness but in terms of there being this big concussion cloud hanging over my head that I might not be able to play again, that's gone. I'm basically the same as any other player who's outside a list and looking to get drafted, so hopefully it does happen. I just want to play again."
After going through brain rehabilitation at Epworth Hospital in recent months, McCartin was due to be cleared to return to contact training in in April but the COVID-19 outbreak pushed tests back. However, he was expected to be given the all-clear.
"In terms of concussion or anything like that, I'm basically the same as anyone else now and the doctors have told me I don't have any greater risk than any other player on an AFL list. Now I'm fully rehabbed from that I'm good to go," he said.