After overcoming a lengthy ACL injury, AFLW player Annise Bradfield has returned to the game feeling right at home and more determined than ever to enjoy every second of it.
“It was so exciting to play at Metricon in front of all my family and friends,” Bradfield said.
“I couldn’t take the smile off my face all day. Even when I was tackling someone, I still had a smile.
“It was just incredible to get back out there with the girls because they helped me through the entire thing, especially since it was such a hard injury.”
After such a serious injury, Bradfield’s life as an AFLW player changed, but, in return, has provided her a new sense of appreciation for the sport.
“It makes me think – as a footballer – you train your entire life, and you get to a point where you are in the motion of training every day,” said Bradfield.
“To get that taken away from you is heart-breaking, but at the same time it makes the comeback so much better.”
For Bradfield, it has been 19 months between AFLW games and she attributes the support from her teammates as the main motivation that got her through rehabilitation.
“I think I was at the club almost every single day. Just seeing everyone’s faces and hearing them ask how I was made it easier as well,” said Bradfield.
“I was super grateful for the entire club. It is a resilience thing, but I couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help.”
Although the wait was long, Bradfield’s first game back managed to net her the first win of her career.
“It was definitely a team effort. It was great to get the win and to finally sing the song,” said Bradfield.
“Props to the girls because we put in so much effort in the pre-season and there are so many fresh faces, so to see them all in the middle of the huddle singing the song was incredible.”