Accomplished Wagga footballer Matt Suckling hopes there is still plenty of life in his career as he prepares to embark on a 14th AFL pre-season.
Suckling has been home in Wagga for a couple of weeks enjoying the last of his off-season break before beginning pre-season training next week.
The 31-year-old signed a new one-year deal late in the season but wants to continue his time at Western Bulldogs beyond next year.
"I definitely hope there is more than one year left," Suckling said.
"I obviously know I'm closer to the end than the start but I'm still really motivated to play well. I still love going to training each day and all the things that come with it.
"The body, touch wood, is feeling good so if the body holds up I'll try and play for as long as I can."
Suckling won two premierships at Hawthorn before he exercised his right as a free agent to join the Bulldogs in 2016.
A veteran of 171 AFL games now, Suckling has high hopes for the Bulldogs in 2020 after winning seven of their last nine home and away games this year.
"Absolutely. I think we were a bit inconsistent, and that probably comes with being a young side but we feel like we've really galvanised and started to play some good footy with each other and the more we play with each other, the better we're going to be," he said.
"Bringing in a couple of stock ends at either of the ground (Josh Bruce and Alex Keath) will be really beneficial as well."
The Bulldogs bowed out of finals in the opening week with a loss to eventual grand finalists Greater Western Sydney.
Suckling has spent the past two weeks training in Wagga to make sure he's ready to hit the Bulldogs' 2020 campaign full of running.
"Right now, I'm trying to get in as good as nick as you can so by Christmas you're really fit so you can train really well in January and February and set your season up that way," he said.
"We've recruited pretty well over the break I think so the optimism around the group should be really high.
"The way we finished off last year in the home and away season was pretty good, it was just disappointing with finals. So hopefully everyone is keen to come back and make amends for that."
Suckling has begun to spend more time up the ground in recent seasons but is tipping a return to defence next year.
"Luke Beveridge loves guys that have a bit of flexibility in their game," he said.
"He touted me as someone that could play at all ends of the ground so last year I probably spent more time forward than I normally do but I think this year the plan will be to probably go back to where I've played most of my footy down back and try to get a good partnership with Jason Johannisen and Caleb Daniel again."
Suckling will head back to Melbourne this week refreshed after a good break and ready for a big year ahead.
"At the end of each season it's really important to freshen up, mentally and physically," he said.
"The demands are getting so hard now so it's really important to use your break well. I feel like I've done that. I've been overseas, spent some time in America and since then, been back here training and preparing myself physically for what is always a tough pre-season."