COME the end of a difficult 2020 season, Tom McDonald’s playing future appeared uncertain.
The 28-year-old remained in contract with Melbourne, but having played just nine of his side’s 17 games, he was encouraged to explore his options during the Trade Period.
“I went through so many different emotions with it,” McDonald said on The Talking Points.
“There was part of it where I was just really flat that I thought my time was going to be done at Melbourne, to being excited about a new opportunity and new challenges, to things sort of falling through for a couple of different reasons.
“And then getting really excited again to come back to Melbourne and prove a few people wrong.
“It was a bit of a whirlwind and it was just strange – I’d never been through it.
“I just tried to use that for a bit of motivation for training, going, ‘Well, wherever I go I’m going to try to prove people wrong, that I’m still a very good player.’”
With 170 AFL games and 109 goals under his belt, there’s no doubting McDonald is capable of playing at the top level once again in 2021.
And despite facing some uncertain times, he says his return to Casey Fields was as smooth as he could’ve hoped.
“It wasn’t awkward, because Goody, when we finished at the end of the year, I told him my plans for the off-season,” McDonald said.
“He said, ‘Well if you do that, and you stick to it, we’ll give you a fresh slate.’
“I said, ‘I’ll stick to my word and you stick to yours,’ and they’ve been great.
“The coaches have been really positive coming back.
“I tried to show them day one that I’ve put in the work and they noticed. They’ve given me a fair go and that’s all I can ask.”
To hear McDonald speak about his 2021 pre-season and outline his potential starting position this year, watch this week’s episode of The Talking Points below.