Lincoln McCarthy is loving life at the Lions. Picture: Getty Images
Lincoln McCarthy is loving life at the Lions. Picture: Getty Images

McCarthy opens up on Lions lifeline

HE has shot to fame as one of Brisbane's high-flying forwards in 2019 but it wasn't long ago that Lincoln McCarthy hit rock bottom.

The former Cat had battled through six injury-riddled seasons at Geelong and was back to his best when a hamstring strain struck in Round 13 last year.

After missing all of 2013 and 2015 to foot injuries, plus extended breaks to manage groin, back, quad and hip complaints, the 26-year-old's luck failed him yet again.

Suddenly footy didn't seem so great and it was only Brisbane's lifeline that kept McCarthy from walking away from it all.

"To be honest, midway through last year I was starting to think 'I don't know if I want to play footy anymore'," McCarthy said.

"But then Brisbane came on the scene and wanted to give me an opportunity later in the year, so I was either going to go into a different career path or take on that opportunity.

"I thought a few years down the track 'what will I regret', so I took this and it's been a really good one so far."

Lincoln McCarthy is finally injury free. Picture: AAP Images
Lincoln McCarthy is finally injury free. Picture: AAP Images

McCarthy repaid Brisbane's faith with a four-goal debut against West Coast in Round 1 and the small forward has gone on to enjoy six consecutive games - his longest uninjured streak since 2016.

"I'm living from game to game at the moment but playing every game in a season has been the goal for seven years, so that's the goal," he said.

"It's OK to play but I also want to be playing good games, consistent games."

Countless hours on the physio table have given McCarthy a unique appreciation for what it means to be an AFL footballer - and the reality of what comes afterwards.

"There's always times when you've just had enough and regardless of what you tell yourself, you can think 'it's not working for me'," he said.

"You doubt if your body's got the capability to back up from sessions or heal from injuries because things just take longer than what you want.

 

Lincoln McCarthy has been a hit with Lions fans. Picture: Getty Images
Lincoln McCarthy has been a hit with Lions fans. Picture: Getty Images

"I guess it probably enabled me to start dabbling in things to do post-footy as well which is a good thing. If everything was going well, I probably wouldn't have even thought about what to do after footy, I probably wouldn't have done anything.

"It's enabled me to start thinking more broadly about life and not get stuck in that footy bubble."

The Lions are chasing three wins on the bounce against Western Bulldogs in Ballarat on Saturday and McCarthy admits he's pleasantly surprised by both Brisbane's early season form and his own.

"These guys have been so deprived of wins and belief, so how can you have that winning culture when you've been so deprived through back-to-back seasons? It's amazing," he said.

"Coming from Geelong, we were never in positions where we would be 0-5 and up here I was worried at the start of our year, looking at our draw that we could be 0-5 or 0-6.

"No games are easy here, so you sort of had your doubts, but it's been really good so far."

News Corp Australia


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