Football can be a cruel sport, something Stawell's Cody Driscoll knows first-hand.
In his first practice match for his new club last season, the Warrior partially tore his anterior cruciate ligament, ruling him out for the season.
Now, a year later, Driscoll is back on the field and displaying the talent that had Warriors fans excited on his arrival from Navarre.
"It was a long time coming and obviously last year didn't go the way I wanted it to at the start," Driscoll said.
"But, I've put the work in, and I know what I've done, so I thought the time was right to come back."
An ACL injury is one of the most feared in sporting circles, immobilising sufferers and demanding a lot, both physically and mentally, on the road to recovery.
Driscoll avoided surgery and said his lay-off was made easier by the support shown by his new club.
"Everyone there was really supportive and wanted to see me out there again. They didn't push things, and they just told me to get out there when I was ready," he said.
"I put a lot of time into the rehab. It was six weeks in a straight splint and just wanting to get back into it.
"But, it wasn't like everything stopped. I was still doing the work in the gym and preparing myself and having the support of some close friends at the club while doing that made it a lot easier.
"It's been tough, but I stuck with it, and now I'm out there at the moment."
In a cruel twist of fate, Cody's brother, Ash tore his ACL only a few weeks later in his Navarre side's first game of the season. Forced to go under the knife, Ash only returned to the field last weekend.
Cody played his first game of the season in Stawell's round three 82-point dismantling of the Warrack Eagles.
Since then, the returning Warrior has bagged 15 goals and been instrumental to his side's impressive run of form.
"It's good to get back into the swing of things. I'm certainly not fully there yet, but with each game, I'm getting a bit more confidence and getting that footy brain back," Driscoll said.
"It's a good vibe there at the moment. We know our best footy is ahead of us and when we play that good Warriors brand of football we know we can match it with the best."
Despite sitting in finals contention, Driscoll said the Warriors weren't getting ahead of themselves.
"It's just one week at a time and focusing on getting that team win. Obviously, individually you want to play well too," he said. "Playing well as a team is the main goal, and hopefully I can do enough to help out there."
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