Austin left powerless in '09 AFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Austin left powerless in '09 AFL

By Roger Vaughan 05/08/2009 04:07:31 PM Comments (0)

Last year's excitement machine at Melbourne has completely broken down this AFL season.

A succession of injuries means Austin Wonaeamirri will not play any senior football in 2009, with a knee injury forcing him out for the last month.

Wonaeamirri became an instant crowd favourite with his dash and exuberant goal celebrations.

But hamstring trouble and then the knee injury kept him out of the team through this year.

Coach Dean Bailey said Wonaeamirri has recovered from lateral miniscus (cartilage) damage, but every time he tries to progress to match fitness, the knee swells again.

"We've had three or four attempts to get him back, it's got to a stage now where even if we get him back, he's missed so much football," Bailey said on Wednesday.

"Playing him is almost a greater risk, rather than getting him ready for pre-season.

"It's disappointing for him, but it's certainly disappointing for our fans.

"I'd like to think he'll be ready to go (in) the pre-season."

But Bailey remains upbeat about Wonaeamirri's future, saying the knee was slowly improving.

"Every time he gets to a level and we pull him back, he's advanced," Bailey said.

"But he couldn't train a full session at the moment, he just can't.

"He's slowly getting there, it's been a very long process with his management.

"But his attitude has been first-class."

Fitness is a big factor for Wonaeamirri, but Bailey said he had maintained his skinfolds and kept working hard off the track.

Meanwhile, Bailey said Colin Sylvia and Cale Morton were strong chances to return to the senior side for Sunday's Etihad Stadium game against North Melbourne.

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