COBDEN export Gary Rohan feels like he’s about to make his AFL debut.
The Sydney Swans speedster will make his much-awaited return from injury against St Kilda at the SCG tomorrow, completing his comeback from a serious broken leg.
Rohan, 22, fractured his tibia in a sickening clash with North Melbourne’s Lindsay Thomas in round four last season.
The former top 10 draft pick has played four matches for the Swans’ reserves side in the NEAFL, with his solid performances earning him a senior recall.
Rohan’s family will travel to Sydney to watch his comeback game, his 23rd overall, which comes three weeks out from the Swans’ finals campaign.
“I’m pretty excited and I’m pretty pumped as well,” Rohan told the club’s website.
“I can’t wait for Sunday. It actually feels like it’s my first game again and it feels like I’ve just come into the club and am making my debut.”
Rohan said he’d slowly built form and match fitness in the NEAFL after more than 15 months of gruelling rehabilitation.
He said he was shocked when told of his AFL selection.
“I found out on Tuesday before training and ‘Horse’ (John Longmire) brought us all in and announced it then,” Rohan said.
“It hit me pretty hard because I wasn’t expected to play so soon, but I was very excited that all of the hard work I’ve done has paid off.
“I thought I’d struggle a bit when I came back (via the reserves) but I played pretty well and have played consistently and now I’m finally playing seniors.”
Sydney coach John Longmire said Rohan’s steadfast resolve had helped him return to the elite level.
“The challenge to come back from that injury is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, in football and he’s been able to do that and show an enormous amount of resilience along the way,” Longmire told the website.
The premiership coach said Rohan’s injury had not impacted on his trademark pace.
“The stuff we’ve seen and his work at training, as well as his work with the reserves, at times we’ve seen that absolute top-end, genuine pace,” he said.
“There wouldn’t be many who I’d say would be faster than Lewis Jetta, but he’s probably one of them and that’s been really exciting to see.”