WARRNAMBOOL’S Tim Hunt admitted he considered walking away from footy after an injury-ravaged career.
At 23, Hunt has had three shoulder reconstructions, a broken jaw and the debilitating osteitis pubis — a chronic groin complaint.
But after Saturday he has two premiership medallions to ease the pain.
Hunt, who was the subject of intense speculation over whether he would take his place in the side because of the groin injury, was far from his best after having an anaesthetic injection in his right leg.
On Thursday night he cast a sorry sight, struggling to run at walking pace.
He was quicker on Saturday albeit for brief periods. He limped off at the six-minute mark of the second quarter after stubbing his third of three kicks, drawing comparisons with former Collingwood great Mick McGuane who did it in an AFL match in 1994.
“I had no feeling in my right leg,” Hunt said.
Hunt, who had injections before the Blues’ qualifying final win over Cobden and last week’s preliminary final triumph over North Warrnambool Eagles, said it was one of the potential downsides. But he had been pivotal in those two matches.
On Saturday he spent much of the half-time break out the back of the changerooms attempting to kick.
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He started the second half on the interchange bench but he hobbled back on 10 minutes in. Within seconds he collected a handball and snapped a goal with his left foot.
It made a big statement.
It gave his Blues a 20-point lead but psychologically it was worth more than just the six points.
It inspired his teammates but seemingly had a deflating impact on his opponents.
The Saints didn’t score a goal after that for almost 40 minutes, in which time the game was up.
Hunt said the injury just needed time to heal with no long-term implications by playing on.
It came after he sat out the first half of the season while recovering from a shoulder operation after last year’s grand final.
“There were times when I had doubts about coming back,” the 2012 league best and fairest winner said.
“I’ve had a lot of injuries.
‘‘This just makes it all worthwhile.
‘‘You would do anything to win another premiership. But you do question whether it’s worth coming back and what you put your body through.
‘‘I’ve had three shoulder reconstructions and you don’t want too many more of those.”
He said the season had been frustrating because of his inability to play and then not at his best.
He wasn’t the only injured Blue on Saturday. His midfield teammate Damien McCorkell suffered an accidental heavy hit to the head by teammate Angus Chirnside in a contest 14 minutes into the second term.
He was cleared by the team doctor to take the field late in the final term.
Another midfielder, Darcy Graham, suffered a quad injury in the final term but played out the game.