IT WAS A LITTLE more than 12 months ago that ruckman Max Gawn knew his fate for the 2012 season.
That occurred on December 14, 2011, when he tore his right medial meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament at training.
The mishap resulted in an entire season on the sidelines. It was also the second time that Gawn had suffered an ACL tear. He was claimed by Melbourne at No. 34 in the 2009 NAB AFL Draft on the back of his first ACL injury.
It was a bitter blow for the game’s second tallest player – behind Fremantle’s Aaron Sandilands – after he made his AFL debut in Melbourne’s 33-point win over Essendon in round 11, 2011, and showed genuine promise in four matches.
Now the 208 cm tall ruckman is eager to make up for lost time in 2013, and has penciled in an intra-club match in February as his return.
“I’m definitely excited to finally play some footy,” he told melbournefc.com.au.
“I’m a little bit nervous as well, because I want to try and get through the majority of the games.
“I’ve got no expectations yet. I just want to put games together. Once I get some consistency in my football, then one thing could lead to another.”
Despite being on the comeback trail, this pre-season hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Gawn, as he explained.
“I had a little bit of a hamstring problem in the first couple of weeks, but since then I’ve been running well, and should be in full training in the next week or so,” he said.
“I was running really well and doing all the skills, but my hamstring set me back a bit.
“I was ready to go in week one, but now I’m ready to go by week 10, so it’s delayed me a couple of months. You’ve got to treat it carefully with the knee, because the hamstring [injury was] on the same leg.”
He said his recent setback frustrated him more so than the knee injury.
“I’ve had two long-term injuries, the hamstring’s supposedly short, but it’s still two months,” he said.
“It’s been a bit more of a head case. With an ACL, you know it’s [going to sideline you for] 12 months, so this is a little bit harder, because you know you’re close when you’re training.”
Although this is Gawn’s fourth AFL-listed season, he felt like a new recruit in some respects.
“When I’m around the change rooms, it feels like I’ve been around these guys for three of four years. But definitely when I’m out there training, it still feels like I’m one of the new guys,” he said.
“It’s been a bit of a journey. I’ve been injured for two [seasons], so that’s been a little bit annoying.
“It just feels as though I’ve been here for one, because I’ve only played one good season of footy. It’ll be interesting to see how I go this year and beyond that.”
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