TOMMY Walsh says the seriousness of his hamstring injury has left him uncertain about his AFL future as the Sydney Swan contemplates a return home to Ireland and Gaelic football.
The 25-year-old Irishman has made just five senior appearances in two years in Sydney, playing two games for the Swans last year before tearing his hamstring off the bone in a horrific setback.
Off contract at the end of 2014, Walsh's first wish is to remain with the Swans, while he would also consider continuing his AFL journey with another club.
Walsh won an All Ireland title with Kerry in 2009 before initially starting his AFL career with St Kilda and says he will make a decision about his future in the middle of this year.
"Because it was such a serious injury, your have to prove that your body is still up to playing AFL," Walsh said in an interview with Irish radio station Newstalk.
"If I can get back into the team, then I can start looking at what I'm going to do after the 2014 season. It’s up to the club to sit down and talk about it.
“I haven’t thought about it a lot, but when the time comes, obviously there’s a decision to be made.
"It’s definitely an experience I’ve enjoyed and whether it’s time to come home or not, I don’t know.
"It's something I'll look at in the middle of the year and make a decision then."
Walsh had surgery following the terrible injury, which he suffered early in the round 10 clash with Essendon at the SCG.
He tore all three tendons at the top of his hamstring, leaving his hamstring "attached to nothing", he explained.
He spent some time back in Ireland over the Christmas period and has resumed running and weights work to regain strength in his leg.
Walsh is hopeful of making it back for a practice match just ahead of the new season, but concedes the desire to return to Gaelic football while he can still play the game is strong.
"That (playing for Kerry again) is obviously huge because it's what I grew up wanting to do," he said.
"Ever since I was a young fella all I wanted to do was to play for Kerry.
"I was lucky enough to do that at an early enough age.
"The want to play for Kerry is still there and hopefully that's something I can do before my best years are behind me."
Yet Walsh's main intention is still proving himself in the AFL.
The powerfully built key position player has shown flashes of his ability without taking the next step.
“It is a nice lifestyle (in Australia) and it’s definitely something I’ve enjoyed experiencing over the last couple of years," he said.
"It’s been a great experience so far and I’m looking forward to pushing on and trying my best to get through this injury and have a good year."