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ALEX Morgan never doubted his decision to step away from football last year as he approached the draft, but his parents thought he might live to regret it.

His coach at the Oakleigh Chargers, Mick Stinear, understood it, having himself lost the passion for the game at Under-16 level, while the club's region manager Mark Smart wanted Morgan to continue but knew he couldn't make him.

When his teammates found out early last year that Morgan, having completed the pre-season, would not be a part of the 2014 Chargers team, many texted him expressing their surprise. There wasn't much Morgan could say in response. His decision sounded complicated, but in fact sat with him well.

"It came down to my enjoyment of the game. I've always played footy because I enjoy it, and at TAC Cup level where it's quite professional I'd be kidding myself if I had put myself in front of someone who wanted to play more for the right reasons," Morgan told AFL.com.au.

"It would have been the easy thing to keep playing as opposed to stepping away from the game and making a pretty big decision. I think I went about it the right way."

Morgan didn't think he'd come back to the Chargers when he left after that pre-season camp on the Mornington peninsula in February last year. He started a business, marketing and management course at Swinburne University and played local footy for Forrest Hill in inner Melbourne with a close friend.

Towards the end of the year, having watched the Chargers win the premiership and seen many of his former teammates, like Jordan De Goey and Darcy Moore, picked at the draft, Morgan started worked five days a week at a warehouse.

"It was a bit of a drive away but I saved up enough money to buy a car, so that was good," Morgan said. "It's pretty gruelling but it kept me busy."

It was around then Morgan started to think he might give his football aspirations another shot. He got back in touch with the Chargers, who were open to him returning as one of their 19-year-old players in 2015.

He went for a trial without any guarantees, but was added to their list and found his enjoyment was back: he liked heading to training, had fun in games and was putting less pressure on himself. Morgan wanted to be drafted again.

A left hamstring problem interrupted his start to the season but he quickly picked up form. He impressed recruiters with his dash from defence, pace and skills on both sides of his body and won selection for Vic Metro at the Under-18 championships (at this week's NAB AFL Draft Combine he ran 2.88 seconds for the 20m sprint).

As an ‘over-ager’ he was expected to perform at the carnival and he did, playing four games and creating some spark. Then he tore his other hamstring, requiring 12 weeks rehabilitation before returning for Oakleigh's Grand Final win last month.

"I got the physio to massage me for about an hour prior to running out for the game, I was so nervous about the hamstring," Morgan said.

"But I got through unscathed and we won the flag which was amazing. I was happy with the year when I played, but having the injuries was frustrating at times.

"Playing last year for Forrest Hill, and now going back to the TAC Cup, I realised the jump up. It made me realise I wanted to play the highest standard of football possible. Having a year off was what I needed. I came back at the right time."

Morgan thinks he is far better placed to grab his chance at this year's draft than what he would have been last year when he was first eligible to join a club. The 19-year-old has had plenty of visits from recruiters the year, and more chats in the past few days at the combine.

"You know the question is going to come about last year, and all I can do is be honest," he said.

"Drafting a player is a huge responsibility for the club, and a liability if it goes wrong. I just tell them everything that was going through my head at the time. I don't think it's going to be an issue in the future because this is what I want to be doing.

"I have no regrets in taking my year off. I don't think it's necessarily benefited me as a player, but I think it's made me know what I want more now.

"I think there's a time and place for everything. My time was this year and I've really relished the opportunity."