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Melbourne Football Club

Hunt rapt to be back playing

Jayden Hunt looks on during the 2015 Melbourne Demons team photo day at the MCG, Melbourne on January 29, 2015. (Photo: Justine Walker/AFL Media)
Jayden Hunt looks on during the 2015 Melbourne Demons team photo day at the MCG, Melbourne on January 29, 2015. (Photo: Justine Walker/AFL Media)
It was quite frustrating. The first time I did it (the back) was in round seven last year, which ended my season
Jayden Hunt

SECOND-year Demon Jayden Hunt says he’s simply relishing playing football again – and impressing in the VFL – after missing almost a year of football.

Hunt, who was selected at No.57 in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft, said it had been a tough period being sidelined with a back injury – on two separate occasions – and then a broken jaw.

“It was quite frustrating. The first time I did it (the back) was in round seven last year, which ended my season,” he told Dee TV.

“In the pre-season, I got through the hardest bit of it in the first two or three months and I was looking all right.

“I got my fitness up and then on our camp at Maroochydore it flared up again and I missed the first few games of the year. It was very frustrating to do the same injury again.”

Hunt played his first match of any sorts this year in May, returning for Casey via the AFL Victoria Development League.

But after playing five matches in a row, Hunt suffered a broken jaw and remarkably missed just one match. Upon return, he came back into the senior Casey team in the VFL.

And his past two matches for the Scorpions have been particularly eye-catching.  

“The first couple [of matches in the Development League] were about really getting my game fitness up,” Hunt said.

“I [started off] playing a half, then 70 per cent and then the last two [matches] I started to play full games and build up my confidence, because I hadn’t been out on the field for over a year.

“Then I was hoping to make my way up to the VFL side, but just as I was doing that, I broke my jaw and I had to have surgery. Luckily the surgery went really well and I was supposed to miss four weeks. But I only missed one week, because we had the bye [in between] and then I made my way back into the VFL side.”

Hunt said his broken jaw occurred after it collided with an opponent’s head.  

“It was in the first quarter and I just got some guys’ head, which went bang [into my jaw],” he said.

“I thought I just had a sore tooth and I played out the rest of the game. But it turned out that I went to the surgeon expecting to be able to play the next week, but he said ‘if you don’t have surgery, it’ll be eight weeks out, but even if you have surgery, it should be three or four weeks’. But I shortened it to two weeks, so it was good.

“The surgery went really well and my mouth and jaw just responded really well to it, so that’s why the surgeon thought I recovered a lot better than he thought. He allowed me to play earlier, which was good.”