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Witherden's comeback

Witherden on Future Stars Lions defender Alex Witherden spoke to Channel Nine's Future Stars program on his comeback from serious injury to then playing his first season of AFL.

Brisbane Lions defender Alex Witherden has revealed the hard road he travelled to achieving his lifelong dream of playing for an AFL Club.

The 19-year-old is now enjoying downtime after his maiden AFL season. Witherden’s transition to the big stage was seamless, after making his debut in Round 14 against the GWS Giants.

The halfback averaged 24 disposals and three tackles a game; more than he did when playing in the under 18s.

But Witherden revealed to Channel Nine’s Future Stars program that his journey to being drafted was far from smooth.

While captaining Geelong College, in his final year of school, he broke his leg. Only the year earlier he had a double hip arthroscopy.

“I knew straight away I was in absolute agony. I’ve never had that sort of pain before. I knew straight away it was pretty serious. I didn’t want to get stretchered off but you don’t really have much of a choice in that situation,” he says.

“I just remember all the doubts and thoughts running through your head, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t your health, it’s more just ‘what’s going to happen to my draft chance. And where does my future lie from this point on.’”

Witherden, with support from his Geelong Falcons Club, persevered through what he describes as a ‘scary experience.’

“You get that belief back in yourself again and you back yourself that you can get back and make a solid return,” he said.

The defender did start running and playing and was selected as the Lions’ number 23 pick in the 2016 NAB AFL National Draft.

After his first taste of AFL in Brisbane, the defender can’t wait to start November’s pre-season in perfect health.

“I’m looking forward to getting a pre-season under my belt because it’s been three or four years since I’ve had one.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs