MARCUS Adams admits he feels guilty for not contributing in Brisbane as he enters his sixth season without ever playing more than 11 games in a single campaign.
Plagued by foot and knee injuries during his time at the Lions and Western Bulldogs before that, Adams is off contract beyond this season but is finally fit as he eyes a way back into Chris Fagan's first-choice backline.
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He played just once last season and 10 games in 2019 with last year's COVID-19 protocols confining him to a small rehab group while his teammates got within a game of the Grand Final.
"I was getting sick of it; I've been running laps for two years so I was pretty fed up with it," a fit-again Adams said.
"It's pretty hard to see the guys going so well and not being part of it; it's not bitterness but jealously that I definitely felt at times.
"Coming off contract makes this an increasingly important season, but I feel a sense of guilt that I haven't been able to contribute on the field.
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"I want to repay that faith (shown to recruit me in 2019) and haven't been able to at this point, so this year I'm hoping it can be the year."
Emerging tall defender Jack Payne arrived as a handy option alongside Harris Andrews last year and Adams knows he may have to earn selection via the VFL.
"Hopefully I get a decent run at it this year ... (but) I don't know if I do fit in ... there's a lot of competition for spots," the 27-year-old said.
"It might be a week-to-week sort of thing so we can mix and match according to who we're playing.
"But I haven't looked that far ahead, I'm just looking forward to playing regardless of whether it's AFL or VFL."
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He said the mentality of the squad, after back-to-back seasons finishing second but not reaching a Grand Final, had buoyed him.
"We never get ahead of ourselves, whenever someone drifts off the rails a bit someone will give them the nudge they need," he said.
"With where we've sort of gotten to some teams may slip off, but there's probably even more drive than ever."