Fergus Greene is determined to force his way back onto an AFL list.
The former Sandhurst and Bendigo Pioneers forward was delisted by the Western Bulldogs after playing five senior games for the club over four years.
Injuries hampered the 22-year-old's progress with the Dogs, but strong form in scratch matches in the Queensland hub and a healthy body has him desperate for another crack at AFL level.
"It's frustrating when you still feel like there's a bit left on the table,'' Greene said of his delisting by the Dogs.
"The hardest thing this year was not being able to play games.
"Moving to Queensland for 100-odd days because of the COVID-19 scenario probably summed up my career as a Dog - uneven and hot and cold.
"The first few games we played in Melbourne (before the COVID-19 break) I felt as though I was just finding my feet after coming back from my shoulder (injury).
"Once we got to Queensland I felt as though I had confidence in my body back.
"I think in the eight scratch matches up there I kicked 20-odd goals. I was performing pretty well and hitting the scoreboard, which is what you want as a forward.
"That makes this pill harder to swallow because I feel as though I can play at the level.
"In a normal season, if I was playing well at VFL level it would have made my position easier now because in negotiations I'd have that proven form.
"With the matches in Queensland they were just scratch matches and you don't get the publicity."
Greene said a couple of AFL clubs have been in contact with his manager since he was delisted.
"I'm sure 90 per cent of the players that get delisted would be having the same conversations (that I am),'' Greene said.
"It's a tough market at the moment, but at the same time you like to be optimistic that a club is keen on you.
"At this stage, with the uncertainty around list sizes, clubs aren't making too many moves.
"Trade week finishes on Thursday, so I think clubs will have more idea what moves they want to make.
"They'll know how many draft picks they have or how many delisted free agents they want to look at."
AFL clubs can re-draft delisted players in the national draft or rookie draft, but Greene said it was clear that his time with the Western Bulldogs was over.
"As much as I'd love to spend my whole career at the Dogs, I think that chapter has finished,'' Greene said.
"It's hard being at a club where you're not seen as the way you'd like to be seen.
"Bevo (coach Luke Beveridge) and I had a really good relationship over the four years I was at the club, but at some point you fall out of favour or your name just doesn't get brought up at the selection table.
"A fresh start would be great for my career, but first you have to get that opportunity."
Greene has nominated for the AFL draft.
If he doesn't get selected he has the option of playing in the VFL, WAFL or SANFL in a bid to prove his worth to AFL clubs.
Another option is returning to the Bendigo Football Netball League to play with his beloved Sandhurst Dragons where his father, Chris, is club president.
"I want to have another crack at AFL level, but there's a lot of work I need to get back on a list,'' Greene said.
"My manager and I are working through a lot of things at the moment.
"If I don't get back on a list straight away then I have a few options.
"If I don't choose to play in the VFL there is an option to play locally with my home club Sandhurst.
"There's a bit of pull there and I would love to play for Sandhurst again, but it's hard when I still think I can play at AFL level.
"At this stage I want to do everything I can to get back on an AFL list.
"Over the next three weeks I'll probably know more about what the future holds."
For now, Greene is pounding the pavement and in the gym in a bid to keep his body at full fitness in case an AFL club does come knocking.
"Post the COVID break I felt as though I was as fit as I was when I was playing senior footy in 2018,'' he said.
"I was able to keep myself fit which is something I hadn't been able to do consistently over the past four years.
"Generally, when I'm able to play six or seven weeks of footy consecutively then I play my best footy, which is not uncommon for most footballers.
"That's something I can take to other clubs that I was able to get through the season.
"I really do feel like I can offer a bit to an AFL club, it's just a matter of whether I get that opportunity."
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.