WEST Coast ruckman Nathan Vardy admits there were times he contemplated cutting his AFL career short, but he's glad he persevered through the tough times.
Vardy played just 25 games across seven injury-plagued seasons at Geelong before being traded to West Coast for draft pick No.68 at the end of 2016.
The move has worked wonders for Vardy, who has played 31 games for the Eagles across the past two seasons and will line up in Saturday's Grand Final against Collingwood at the MCG.
Vardy missed Geelong's flag in 2011 after being cut down by a hip injury on the eve of the finals, while knee and foot problems also blighted his time at the Cats.
His time at West Coast hasn't been a totally smooth ride either, with the 27-year-old forced to deal with two groin injuries this year.
However, Vardy has been a solid contributor in the second half of the season, playing an important role as a ruck back-up to Scott Lycett in the absence of ACL victim Nic Naitanui.
Vardy said he was pinching himself knowing a Grand Final berth looms.
It's a far cry from his days at Geelong, when he wondered whether he should throw in the towel.
"There were times when I wondered if it was even worth it," Vardy said.
"And if I wasn't able to make a decent career out of it, would I be better off moving on to start the next phase of my life?
"But I always thought if I was able to get back I could make a good fist of it. To reach a Grand Final makes me glad I stuck at it.
"I've only been here for two seasons, but I've already played more games than I did in seven years at Geelong. Then to add a Grand Final to that this week – I never thought it was possible."
Vardy and Lycett face a mammoth task trying to quell Collingwood's All Australian ruckman Brodie Grundy.
Grundy tallied 56 hit-outs, 21 disposals, and a goal in last week's win over Richmond, and looms as a key to Collingwood's victory hopes.
Lycett and Vardy were able to limit the influence of Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn last week, and they are priming themselves to put in another big effort.