Considering how Jeremy McGovern started this season, the 22-year-old is more than happy to have been offered a two-year contract extension by West Coast this week.
At the start of his fourth season with the Eagles, he was sent back to the WAFL by his new coach Adam Simpson and told to improve his fitness – a decision he now says was a blessing in disguise.
For someone who had been on a list that long and not played a game, that could have spelt the beginning of the end of a career at the top level.
For McGovern, it was just the start of his rise to the top.
He says he still has some work to do on his fitness, but over the past month he has emerged as one of the Eagles' most important players - a swing player who can take big marks in attack, or defence – and he’s also booted 11 goals in his five games this season.
In his team's three-point win over the Gold Coast in round 13, McGovern followed up a towering mark deep in defence late in the game by kicking the winning goal just moments later.
“It's been a big change from the start of the year to where I am now,” he said.
“But I'm pretty happy with it.
“Obviously I got sent away. Simmo had a pretty honest chat with me and sent me away. I just had to cop it on the chin.
“I knew I had a lot to work on, and I was just focused on working on that."
McGovern said being kept away from the main group scared him into action. After all, he had only managed 25 senior games in three seasons in the WAFL before the start of this season and 22 of those came in 2012.
He believes that coming from the country (Albany in WA’s south) he had no understanding about what was required to play at the top level.
“It definitely did scare me,” he said.
“Rather than scare me it just motivated me to push harder and to realise what it is like to be an AFL footballer and obviously playing the last few weeks has opened my eyes.
“I've probably come from a fair way back. Just from coming from the country I didn't really understand what it was all about. I was injured most of my first year pretty much. I was injured, in and out of footy. Didn't play much footy obviously through injury and then I got sent away.
“It just opened my eyes up a bit. After playing a few good games of WAFL you sort of realise you could be a good player.”
The club has obviously realised that too and has worked hard over the past few weeks to secure him until the end of the 2016 season.