Gold Coast midfielder Jaeger O’Meara says he will consider his AFL future once he is fully recovered from his knee injury and back playing regular football.
The 21-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and has been attracting strong interest from Victorian clubs, while his girlfriend is based in Melbourne, fuelling speculation he might leave the struggling Suns.
“My focus is purely on getting back to playing AFL footy. It’s something I’m really hungry to do – I haven’t done it for 10 months,” O’Meara told reporters on Thursday.
“Once I get back to playing consistent footy, then that thought process will come into my head.”
O’Meara, the 2013 winner of the Rising Star award, didn’t play one AFL game last year after dislocating his knee in a NEAFL practice match, requiring extensive surgery on his patella tendon.
That was after having previous surgery on both patella tendons following the 2014 season.
O’Meara said he was “not entirely sure” where the talk of a move to Melbourne had come from.
“I guess anyone that’s out of contract at the end of the year, there’s probably going to be speculation about that and, yes, my girlfriend does live in Melbourne, but she’s lived there the last three years and we’ve made it work,” he said.
“I’m really happy with where I’m placed, and I know the club is as well.
“I’ve been transparent and honest the whole way along with them and they’re happy with that.”
O’Meara remains on track for a potential round-one return, but is understandably reluctant to put a timeframe on his comeback from what is a rare injury in AFL terms.
“It was a pretty significant injury and one where there’s not too much information about in AFL,” he said.
“I don’t want to take any risks.
“It’ll be the 12-month mark in round one but, if I need an extra couple of weeks or if I need an extra month or two, I’m willing to take that to lengthen my career.”