NINA Morrison has set her sights on a highly-anticipated return from a severe knee injury in Geelong’s opening match of the 2020 AFLW season.
Morrison, who turned 19 yesterday, suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament just five days after starring in the Cats’ Round 1 victory over Collingwood.
If she is part of the Geelong team which takes on Fremantle to kick off the Cats’ second season in the competition, it will 1 year and 2 days after the training mishap.
“Round 1’s on the radar – that’s the plan,” Morrison said.
“At the moment we are into full training. The last two sessions, I’ve done every drill and I’ve just been wearing the ‘non-contact’ bib.
“Over the next week or two that should filter out and I’ll be back into everything.”
Despite being robbed of not only another seven AFLW games as well as a chance to pull on the Hoops in the VFLW season, Morrison took an approach that belied her tender age.
“You know from the start it’s going to be 12 months until you play, so you’re not trying to get back each week,” she said.
“You can get your head around it a bit more compared to other injuries when you’re not sure when you’re coming back.
“So, I think, in that sense, it’s been relatively easy in a way. And I haven’t had any slipups, which has made it really smooth.”
Having veteran Elise Coventry, who suffered a similar fate to Morrison in the Cats’ practice match against Carlton in late January, as a rehab partner also made the process easier.
“Our surgeries, because the surgeon was away, were exactly a week apart,” Morrison said. “So, this whole time, we’ve been tracking together.
“To have someone like her who’s got such a positive outlook on life and on the rehab process – she’s very no fuss and straight down to business, so it makes it pretty easy to keep positive and keep things in perspective.
“She’s at a very different stage of her life and her footy, so she’s been helpful in that sense.”
Morrison also used the setback as an opportunity to hit the weights.
“I spent a lot more time in the gym than I ever have before,” she said.
“So I think that’s really good for my development, in the long run, to be able to dedicate almost a whole year to building strength in the upper body and lower body.
“Moving forward, hopefully, that will be beneficial.”