He wasn't ready last year but Cameron Ling is close to deciding whether he will be an assistant coach next season, with Melbourne an obvious suitor should he take the plunge.
The Demons inquired with Ling last year about whether he wanted to be Paul Roos' replacement as part of the club's succession plan.
Roos, in his first year with the Demons, has confirmed he will only remain in the top role until the end of 2016, with the Demons on the hunt for a replacement who will embody his football principles.
Ling, a triple premiership player with the Cats who captained the club to the 2011 flag, will be high on the Demons' list. The Cats have also unofficially asked about his intentions.
Ling, who has said he wants to coach at some stage, said the time was fast approaching to decide whether next year was the right time to make the move, especially as this is his third year since retirement.
"I made a real conscious decision at the start of the year that I just wanted to enjoy the first half of the year and not even think about it," he said.
"I suppose that's coming up now, the middle of the season, where I need to start thinking about what I am going to do in the future and start thinking about what I am going to do with my family, a young family."
Former West Coast premiership coach John Worsfold, who was once in business with Demons president Glen Bartlett, and is understood to be keen on returning to coaching, and former Brisbane coach Michael Voss have also been touted as a potential successor to Roos.
Ling, who has business interests and is an expert football commentator on 3AW and Channel Seven, said an assistant coaching role was a demanding - perhaps too demanding - job.
“I believe assistant coaching across the AFL, especially in certain clubs, is almost getting to be too big a job,” he said.
“They’re up still coding games and looking at edits at four o’clock in the morning because of deadlines the next day.
"There is a lot of people who will end up walking out of being an assistant coach because there is no other life to it.”
Ling said he would now closely consult his former teammates and friends who were now coaching.
“From now on I’m really going to start thinking about it and start talking to some people and start having some conversations with my family as well and see where they’re placed,” he said on 3AW.
"Coaching is all consuming. Naturally, I am a competitive person, you want to give your all to it."
While he has been linked with the Demons, Ling said he didn't expect to walk into the role - should he and the club express an interest.
"I am not saying, Melbourne, I can just walk up and ring them up and say: 'Hey, I am ready to go'.That's far from it. I need to prove my ability to do that if that was the path I was to go down and whatever club that was," he said.
Ling said he was unsure whether two years as an assistant would be enough to be ready to take on a top job.
“If you look at Ken Hinkley and you look at Alan Richardson, maybe the longer apprenticeship is the better option,” he said.
“I want to be successful and that’s a part of my competitive nature.”