GEELONG forward Lincoln McCarthy has revealed he's weighing up his future as he considers rival interest, including Brisbane and the potential to play with friend Lachie Neale.
Speaking candidly after Geelong's VFL campaign ended on Sunday, the out-of-contract small forward conceded it might be time for a fresh start after another "grinding" season with injury.
Despite an offer on the table to continue as a Cat, the 24-year-old remains open to a move interstate and will take time to contemplate what comes next.
"After a few years of not being able to do what you want to do in a specific environment, you can get a little bit burnt out," McCarthy said.
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"That comes with any role, in any job I think.
"It's only natural to review what's going on in your own sense. There's no one to blame, it's just purely (that) you can get a little bit burnt out at a specific environment if it hasn't worked for you for so long.
"It's only natural that I'm weighing up what I do."
Brisbane is courting McCarthy's close friend and junior Glenelg teammate Neale with a long-term offer in an attempt to lure him out of a contract at Fremantle.
The interest has extended to McCarthy, with the Lions mounting a case to land both in this year's upcoming NAB AFL Trade Period.
"I am (aware of Brisbane's interest)," McCarthy said.
"Lach and I are good mates. (I) haven't played with him for years, but we're both making our own decisions on what we think is best for us.
"If that ends up (together), then that's great, but otherwise we just make our own decision and run with it.
Sunday's VFL loss to Box Hill was McCarthy's third consecutive game back from a 10-week hamstring injury, and he confessed he was finally starting to enjoy playing again.
McCarthy added two AFL games in 2018 to take his career tally to 29 from seven injury-plagued years at the Cats.
After playing five matches in his first two seasons due to foot and back injuries, McCarthy enjoyed 19 games in a breakout 2016 season before he was hit by hip and groin setbacks in 2017.
"It's like any job, there's some grinding times. Not everyone loves their job every day of the year," he said.
"It becomes a grind and you wonder if your body's right to go.
"Certainly today (VFL), in terms of the body sense for me, was a good step forward and getting that confidence back and enjoyment, although we lost.
"This last couple of months has just been all about playing footy so I guess over the next few weeks, (I'll) work out what's going on.
"I don't know (what 2019 holds), I have a decision to make. It's not that easy as well, I'm not exactly a free agent.
"It's purely the fact of, am I burnt out or am I keen to keep going? That's where my decision will be, it's pretty straightforward for me."
McCarthy will join a number of out-of-contract Cats in heading for exit meetings in the next two days.
VFL regulars Matt Hayball, Ryan Gardner and Timm House are without offers for next year, while George Horlin-Smith and Jackson Thurlow's futures remain unclear.
Aaron Black (ACL) and Cory Gregson (foot) both suffered season-ending injuries throughout 2018 and are anxiously awaiting a call on what lies ahead.
Stewart Crameri is nearing the end of his one-year lifeline, while fellow rookies Jamaine Jones and Sam Simpson are expected to be retained.
Contract negotiations remain ongoing for Daniel Menzel and Jordan Murdoch, while Ryan Abbott is predicted to secure a fresh extension.
While the Cats are yet to announce it formally, ruckman Rhys Stanley has agreed to terms on a new two-year deal.