Saturday, 16 July 2005

Love Story

In a manly, boofy, bloky, heterosexual, groping the arse after a great goal way I heart Phil Read. It's true. I'm getting a #28 on my jumper next year - which should ensure he never plays again.

MELBOURNE utility Phil Read has banished career-ending thoughts from his mind, confident he has finally beaten a prolonged bout of hamstring injuries.

The 26-year-old has fought the debilitating problem in both legs for most of this season as he sought every solution from surgery to alternative medicine in a bid to play.

Even training became a psychological and physical test for Read, who has bowed to the injury four times already this season.

"There was a stage there even at training where I was a bit worried about running out and tearing a hamstring," Read said.

"It got to the stage where I'd run out and just get little cramps and a hamstring would go and I'd go in and get it assessed and it would be, 'You're out for three to four weeks'.

"I was under no illusions, coming off a fourth hamstring, that this was career-threatening."

He played against Port Adelaide in his first game back last week following yet another injury break.

"It's just a really good feeling to get through a game," said the former West Coast player.

"It wasn't the result we were looking for but just to actually play with the boys and get back out on the field after 10 or 12 weeks not being able to train and stuff, it was a good feeling."

Rather than preparing for the football afterlife, he now feels his future has opened up again.

"I've put a lot of work in. Not many people realise that when you're injured you actually train twice as hard as anyone else," Read said.

"I was going away from the club and doing extra work as well so I've got total faith in my body at the moment."

Read has torn both left and right hamstrings and after toying with various treatments including Pilates and Yoga it is now thought the problem related to surgery he had on both knees where grafts from his hamstrings were used.

Despite his own self-doubts, Read said Melbourne had continued to back him and continued its efforts to resolve the problem.

"At no stage did I feel like I didn't have the backing of the coaching staff," Read said.

"They kept telling me, it's a long season, you've got 10 weeks to go, you can get yourself right.

"The faith they've shown me, I'm just really eager to repay them."

A (very) short history of my jumper numbers

#54, Brent Heaver (what a sensational debut for both of us)
#31, Rod Keogh (!?)
#13, Allen Jakovich (I just switched the numbers around)
#1, Jamie Shanahan (Nothing from 1994-1998)
And nothing from 2000 onwards.
2006, #28.

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