RATHER than preparing for Sunday's clash with Sydney, Lachie Henderson can picture himself on a trek in Africa this weekend.
Delisted at the end of last year, the Geelong defender admits he would've turned his back on football if not for a last-minute lifeline from the Cats.
"I reckon I'd be stuck somewhere in Africa," Henderson said when asked where he'd be if his AFL career was cut short.
"I would've ducked out at the start of this year before it (COVID-19) all hit, I'd be stuck somewhere overseas, one of those Australians stuck overseas somewhere in the globe."
Henderson was told he was surplus to the Cats' needs on October 29 last year and headed overseas with no promises of a recall.
While remaining in constant dialogue with the Cats, the hope of a second chance only picked up when ruckman Ryan Abbott's move to St Kilda vacated a list spot.
His reprieve only became official when he was selected a month later in the NAB AFL Rookie Draft on November 29 – two weeks before his 30th birthday.
"It ended for me, I had a good month there where I was free of the AFL tag which, actually looking back on, was quite nice just to have that freedom," he said.
It's a second chance he's taken with both hands and left him treating every game as a bonus.
Knocking on the door with impressive form in the scratch matches through July, Henderson forced his way into the Cats' backline in round eight and has played nine consecutive games.
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"I always thought I still had it and it was just circumstances and a few other things that pushed me out," he said.
"That's fine and that's just the way footy and life goes. But the short answer is yes, it definitely is a bit of a bonus.
"It's been really enjoyable, I've enjoyed the chaos of this year. When you've been around a fair while, it's been quite nice. When the boys are playing really well it makes my job really easy and makes me really good."
Henderson's form in defence has provided Geelong the luxury of using Mark Blicavs as a wingman and ruckman this season.
But he's not getting complacent that a spot in the defensive half is his for the rest of the season.
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"I think now after the end of last year, I'm pretty much ready for any tap on the shoulder," Henderson said.
"It's funny when it happens, there's this weird, numb feeling (but) I'm ready for any tap on the shoulder.
"I don't hold anything against what happens (if I fall out of the side). I've still got to perform and make sure I do the right thing and play my role for the team.
"If I do that then whatever happens is beyond my control. There's a lot going on, there's a lot of players who can play in this position."
Henderson will wait for the Cats to initiate talks on a potential contract for 2021, well aware he's not their highest priority when it comes to re-signing Tom Hawkins and Brandan Parfitt and exploring free agents.
"I wouldn't be human if I didn't say I'd thought about next year," he said.
"As honest as I can be, I'm more than happy to leave it how it ended last year in terms of, I'll wait to the end of the year.
"There's no rush on someone like me, there doesn't need to be a rush on someone like me. I'm just where I need to be at the moment."