In today’s AFL briefing, your daily wrap of footy news:
- Hawthorn captain Ben McEvoy returns from a serious neck injury.
- Catch up on the faith the Gold Coast Suns have shown in Stuart Dew.
Check back for updates throughout the day.
‘I was worse than a first year’: McEvoy back in business
Hawthorn captain Ben McEvoy has opened up about the serious neck injury which left him with nerve damage and unable to lift weights.
McEvoy, 32, will play only his second game of the season on Sunday, against Adelaide at Marvel Stadium, having overcome a neck fracture at training in March.
Hawthorn captain Ben McEvoy has overcome a serious neck injury and will return to action this weekend.Credit:Getty Images
The veteran ruckman-defender said while he had avoided surgery, the injury had made him the butt of some light-hearted jokes from teammates.
“I had some nerve damage from the incident and so it took a long time for that function to return,” McEvoy said.
“I was as little as 20 per cent function in my right arm, so the boys would laugh at me – I was like worse than a first-year [player], getting in, only lifting the bar with no weights on it. It’s all I could do because the pathway just wasn’t firing. I couldn’t control that.
“Once it was back in my control a little bit, yeah, I was always confident I could get back.”
McEvoy, having lifted his intensity over the past six weeks despite still wearing a neck brace, has not played since taking on Port Adelaide in round two.
“Once I felt like I was functioning normally again, the competitive instincts kicked back in, and I’ve been really pushing for the last six or seven weeks or so and working really hard,” he said.
“It’s certainly been a very unique injury.”
McEvoy’s injury gave James Sicily and Jaeger O’Meara the chance to fill in and rotate as captains, and both impressed in the role. It’s unclear if McEvoy will play on next season and, if he does, whether he retains the top role.
Sicily, having signed a five-year contract extension in May, is a key plank of the Hawks’ future, but O’Meara could face an uncertain trade period, with the Hawks looking to rebuild through the midfield.
Hathorn’s head of football Rob McCartney said McEvoy’s return is a major boost. The Hawks are 15th on the ladder with only four wins in Sam Mitchell’s rookie season as coach.
“Ben’s dedication to get back on the field has been nothing short of inspirational,” McCartney said.
“Given the location of the injury in his neck, we did not want to take any risks in his recovery.
“Ben has worked incredibly hard in ticking off every box required of him, while showing great trust and patience in our medical team. Along with injecting some much-needed experience into our ruck stocks, we are also thrilled to have our captain back on the field.”
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