531 days and counting.
That’s how long it’s been since Hamish McIntosh last played a game of AFL football.
He’s played just seven others over the past three years.
You can see why he’s frustrated.
After being sent to Geelong in one of the bigger stories of last year’s trade period, the luckless Border-raised ruckman was desperate to make an impression after leaving North Melbourne.
A new club meant a new start and a new dose of luck, right?
He didn’t play a game.
Knee surgery and a nagging ankle problem derailed McIntosh’s first season with the Cats.
And it took its toll.
“It was probably the most mentally challenging year that I’ve had out of any of the 11 years that I’ve played,” McIntosh, 29, revealed this week.
“Obviously physically, I battled, but mentally it was a real struggle.
“You go to a new club and want to have an impact and earn the respect of all the players by going out there and playing some great footy.
“I felt there was a role for me but I wasn’t able to do any of that this year because my body let me down.”
McIntosh doesn’t need to be told where his career is at. He knows he needs to perform and he knows plenty think he won’t.
“I’ve played eight games in three years,” he said.
“I’m not stupid.
“I’m a realist and I realise where I’m at in my career and that I’m closer to the finish than the start.
“I need to have a good year with my history over the last few years and I’ll be doing everything I can to play footy next season, get myself fit and try and have a big impact and help the side.
“It’s been incredibly frustrating but it’s definitely made me very determined to come back and prove a few people wrong.
“I want to try and repay the faith Geelong has shown in me.”
Touch wood but right now things look good.
Back home at Wodonga over the past few days, McIntosh feels refreshed.
He’s ready to give it one last crack.
“I’m feeling a lot better than I was at the same time last year,” the Lavington junior said.
“I wasn’t running or doing anything, really.
“This year, I’ve been able to do my own training ... I’ve been able to stick to the program and do my own thing.
“It’s such an important pre-season for me.”
So important that he will start his pre-season with Geelong’s youngsters on November 18. Seasoned players aren’t required back until early December.
“Obviously with the year I’ve had I’m pretty keen to get back into it,” McIntosh said.
“At least I can hit this pre-season at 100 per cent and give it everything and see what happens.”