Season over: ACL injury cruels Murray Bombers’ key forward

April 06, 2018

THE footballer’s nightmare — a ruptured ACL.

Full knee reconstruction, out for a year.

You wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy.

But for Echuca’s Ruory Kirkby, a practice match against Northcote Park saw the nightmare turn to reality as an impact from an incident during the game destroyed his knee.

‘‘It’s a full ACL,’’ Kirkby said.

‘‘I strained my medial, fractured the tibia bone, the meniscus is basically obliterated. There is a fair bit for the doctor to clean out in there.’’

It was the worst possible result for the Murray Bombers forward.

‘‘It’s a full season. I won’t be back playing this year which is obviously incredibly disappointing.’’

Kirkby, who was the Murray Bombers leading goalkicker last season with 51 goals, will now have to watch his club from the sidelines.

‘‘We have done a lot of work over the past 12 or 18 months building a really good group who could compete,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m really excited about what our club has to offer this season.’’

Despite Kirkby now being out for 12 months — possibly longer — he refuses to let the injury cause him any further stress.

‘‘It’s obviously not ideal,’’ Kirkby said.

‘‘But I’m a glass half full kind of person. The way I look at it, it happened at the start of the season. That wipes out this season. But if you get yourself injured midway through a year, that could be the rest of the season and next season.

‘‘Also I’ve never really had a major injury. I’ve been playing football for a long time and I think I’ve only really missed about 10 games.

‘‘I’ve played with guys who never got to play to the level they could have due to injuries.

‘‘When I look back at my career so far compared to those guys, I’ve been really lucky. That’s how I like to think about it.’’

It’s a bitter blow for the Murray Bombers to lose Kirkby’s experience.

Club president Ash Byrne spoke highly of his injured gun.

‘‘He is one of the best people we have around the club,’’ Byrne said.

‘‘From an on-field perspective we are really going to miss his leadership, he’s a great teacher to his teammates and that’s a big void for his teammates to field.’’

Kirkby won’t be without a role this year, however.

Co-coach Simon Maddox said Kirkby would continue to be a presence on the bench in a coaching role.

‘‘He’s got a great mind for the game, so he will continue to be an asset for us this season,’’ Maddox said.

‘‘We would have loved to have him out there as a key point in the forward line, but we have faith in our list that the forwards will continue to function strongly without him.’’

At age 32, he will start next season as a 33-year-old — if he decides to go on.

‘‘I’m going with a full reconstruction to rebuild my knee,’’ Kirkby said.

‘‘The other options don’t hold up to contact sport.

‘‘I haven’t really thought about what I will do next year. It’s a tough recovery. I’m waiting a few weeks for the surgery so I can do some strengthening on my knee beforehand, which will aid with my recovery.

‘‘It becomes a case of making that decision when I get closer.’’

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