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AFLW pre-season injury update

Sophie Conway on the bike during last Saturday's training. - Brisbane Lions
Sophie Conway on the bike during last Saturday's training.

With all AFLW sides now back on the track, it's worth checking in with players who have suffered long-term injuries.

Who's back training the house down, and who's still in the rehab group? 


Experienced defender Sam Virgo is well on the way to recovery after tearing her ACL back in September last year, training fully.

Captain Emma Zielke, who broke a bone in her ankle during a Winter Series match, has also returned to training but is managing a sore groin.

Veteran recruit Lauren Arnell has managed training loads, while rookie Brianna McFarlane injured her right shoulder at training last week and is awaiting scan results. 

Sophie Conway was ruled out of the 2019 AFLW season with a torn ACL back in July but has now started running.


Superstar co-captain Erin Phillips' 2018 AFLW season was interrupted by a quad injury, which saw her miss games and play others clearly hampered. She lived in the US with her family over the off-season, working as an assistant coach with WNBA club Dallas Wings and is now back home and training strongly. Lively forward Jenna McCormick is on W-League duties with Brisbane Roar, but will only play half a season before returning to the Crows for training around Christmas. Jess Allan, who will miss the season after being accepted into the army, is training with the club before her army training block commences. 


Captain Brianna Davey tore her ACL in round two of the 2018 AFLW season and is back running, but will not take part in any contact work until after Christmas. Midfielder Jess Hosking's recovery from a second right shoulder reconstruction (the first saw her sidelined for the entire 2017 AFLW season) has gone smoothly and she is back in full training. Free agent signing Kirby Bentley's reconstructed right knee is ready to go after missing 2018 with her former club Fremantle.


Star key position player Chloe Molloy will miss the 2019 AFLW season with a Lisfranc injury in her foot. Experienced midfielder Melissa Kuys has yet to be ruled out for 2019 but underwent surgery on her left Achilles tendon in late September. She is now walking unaided and is completing her rehab. 


Marquee midfielder Kiara Bowers has yet to take to the field in two years at the club due to a series of knee injuries (including a reconstruction), but took a significant step forward by winning the team's time trial. Explosive forward/midfielder Kellie Gibson has recovered from a reoccurrence of the hip flexor injury that originally saw her sidelined for all but one match in the 2018 AFLW season. Gibson did not play all winter while rehabbing the 9cm long tear. Captain Kara Donnellan had clean-out operations on both knees but is back training, finishing third in the time trial. Best and fairest Ebony Antonio missed a large chunk of the WAWFL season with Swan Districts after Achilles surgery but recovered to play three games late. Brianna Green will miss the 2019 season, still recovering from a knee reconstruction that saw her miss most of the 2018 AFLW season.


Melissa Hickey is recovering well from her knee reconstruction, training with teammates but not yet at contact level. Veteran Aasta O'Connor is currently on a semi-restricted training load but is expected to join full training soon, as is draftee Denby Taylor, who is recovering from glandular fever. Ruck Erin Hoare is the biggest issue for the Cats. Still suffering the effects of a foot injury dating back to the VFLW finals in September, Hoare is due to start running in a few weeks. Renee Garing's recovery from a back injury that restricted her to just five VFLW games this year is progressing well. 


Captain Amanda Farrugia suffered a navicular injury in her foot over winter but has fully recovered, playing the last few games of the season for AFL Sydney side Macquarie University and took part in the team's time trial (won by Elle Bennetts). Inside midfielder Britt Tully will take this season off due to personal reasons. 


Ainslie Kemp (zero games) and Sarah Lampard (one game) were barely sighted during the 2018 season, but both are back training with the main group. Kemp tore the ACL in her right knee during a preseason drill in early January. Lampard had a bad hamstring injury that saw her sidelined for the first six games of the AFLW season, before rupturing the ACL in her right knee during her comeback game in round seven. Recruit Talia Radan is now three months into her recovery from a left shoulder reconstruction and took to the track with her new team for the first time with heavy strapping. Daisy Pearce will miss the season as she is pregnant with twins.


Young forward Daria Bannister is progressing in her recovery from a left knee reconstruction. The club will be cautious with Bannister, who suffered the injury in round one of the 2018 AFLW season, given she is just 19, but hold out hope she may feature in 2019. Draftee small forward Daisy Bateman has overcome the ankle injury that saw her confined to a moon boot and missing Collingwood's VFLW preliminary final. She is now back to full training. 


The Bulldogs have had a fairly lengthy injury list over winter, headed by power forwards Katie Brennan and Isabel Huntington. Captain Brennan has now returned to full training after a right ankle reconstruction, while the club is taking a cautious approach with former No.1 pick Huntington, who is recovering from her second knee reconstruction. The forward has now had a reconstruction on both knees, with the club confident her right knee will be ready to go in round one. Monique Conti will juggle WNBL commitments with pre-season training, while Aisling Utri has only just returned from China with Australia's u-23 development hockey side and is still a few weeks off a footy return as she has a break. Naomi Ferres (ankle) is fully recovered, Kirsty Lamb (shoulder operation) is ramping up her training after missing the entire state league season while ruck Ellyse Gamble, whose stocks have risen since Aasta O'Connor's move to Geelong, is currently recovering from a broken wrist. 

INACTIVE PLAYERS (ruled out for 2019):

Jess Allan (army commitments)
Sophie Conway (Brisbane, torn ACL)
Brianna Green (Fremantle, torn ACL)
Chloe Molloy (Collingwood, Lisfranc foot injury)
Daisy Pearce (pregnancy)
Britt Tully (personal reasons)
Ruth Wallace (personal reasons)

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