Before the 2019 AFL season Lincoln McCarthy set himself a personal goal at his new Club – to not miss any games. Most reading this would think this goes without saying for professional athletes, but it holds extra weight for McCarthy, who had had an awful run of luck in his career so far.

In his seven years at Geelong he played only 29 AFL games due to injuries to his hamstring, back, groin, hip, quad and foot.

He came to the Lions in the 2018 AFL Trade Period, seeking a fresh start under Senior Coach Chris Fagan and the medical and high-performance team.  

“I just wanted to not miss any games, that’s what we’re meant to do, be out on the park every week,” he said.

“I guess that’s where the doubt’s been, for me I haven’t had a lot of confidence in my body.”

McCarthy made it through pre-season unscathed and was named in the Lions Round 1 team against West Coast Eagles.

In his first game at his new Club he was quick to make his mark, booting four goals in their win over the reigning premiers.

He went on to find consistent form and played all 22 home and away games, as well as two AFL Finals Series matches. He kicked the match winner against his former side Geelong in an unforgettable day at The Gabba in Round 22.

Reflecting on his 2019 season, the 25-year-old now feels he has built a foundation for his body and can work more on on-field aspects.

“Your focus shifts to actually performing,” he said.

“I want to be able to contribute a bit more, it’s easier said than done.”

He will have an extra busy pre-season in January, with his partner Tayla, expecting the couple’s first child.

“We’re excited to become parents, can’t wait,” he said.

“She’s only just over halfway now, so have got to get organised.”