After more than a year on the sidelines, Gold Coast midfielder Jaeger O’Meara is back.
The 2013 AFL rising star may have only played a half of reserves football at Metricon Stadium on Saturday, but it was enough to bring a smile to almost everyone at the Suns.
O’Meara hadn’t played since rupturing a patella tendon during a practice match for the Suns’ reserves in April last year.
After operations and countless hours of rehabilitation, O’Meara was a late inclusion in the Suns team for the curtain raiser to the AFL clash between Gold Coast and St Kilda.
The 22-year-old picked up 15 touches, making a tackle and narrowly missed out on a goal with a snap off his left foot.
Simply thrilled to be back on the paddock, O’Meara said his return wasn’t about blowing away his opponents.
“I didn’t expect to come out and do anything special,” O’Meara said.
“Just wanted to come through and help my team. Lead out there as well and use my voice.
O’Meara’s next step will be to increase his minutes for the reserves ahead of a possible return to the AFL towards the back end of the season.
But the West Australian product, whose family and friends came to the Gold Coast to watch his return, says he isn’t thinking that far down the track.
“Obviously doing a significant injury like this, there’s bigger doubts and that kind of thing,” O’Meara said.
“I was never going to play unless I was 100 per cent confident in my body again.
“For the club to be able to give me the time to do that and not rush me, I’m thankful for that and it’s just great to be out there playing footy again because that’s obviously what I love to do.”