NORTH Melbourne youngster Taylor Garner's 2014 season is over before it started, with another hamstring injury ensuring the young forward will not play a game at any level during this year's home and away season.
Garner, who was North's first pick in the 2012 national draft at No.15 overall, has been sidelined since suffering a left hamstring tendon injury in North's NAB Challenge game against Hawthorn in late February.
The 20-year-old was initially expected to miss six weeks and got close to a return in early May, when he was listed as a chance to play if he passed a fitness test.
But Garner could never quite get his hamstring right and when he strained the same muscle a month ago North decided enough was enough.
North football director Geoff Walsh told AFL.com.au that Garner's latest injury had not involved the hamstring tendon.
"He didn't do it as badly as he did it the first time, but certainly he disrupted some of the fibres and we just thought that given it's on the same leg, there's not much point in pushing him through and trying to get him up for the last week or two (of the season)," Walsh said.
"So we wouldn't expect him to play for the rest of the year. We'll just be rehabbing him and making sure it gets right for the (2015) pre-season.
"We just didn't want to take any chances. He's only a young player, we've got high hopes for him, so we'll hopefully have him set for a strong pre-season."
Garner played two games in his debut season last year and North reiterated their faith in him in late June with a contract extension to the end of 2016.
Garner told NMFC.com.au at the time he had entered 2014 intent on playing more senior games, not on being a long-term member of North's rehabilitation group.
"It's been a really frustrating year for me and I'm definitely sick of the inside of the gym and all the rehab," Garner said.
"All I want to be doing is playing football with the boys, but I have to get my fitness right first. It's a slow process and it's been pretty annoying to be honest.
"I saw this year as the chance for me to play more games obviously, but the injury has set me back a fair way."
The former Dandenong Stingray said the one silver lining to his season had been the extra time he'd had to work on his strength in the gym.
"I'm not the biggest of blokes, so if this time helps with my overall development and puts me in a good position down the track with regards to my strength and power out on the field, then I'll look back and say getting injured was actually a good thing," Garner said."It's going to be up to me to make sure that's the case."