INJURED Sydney footballer Gary Rohan says he still feels a valued member of a Swans side one game away from a premiership.
Rohan said he had endured a week of mixed emotions as he came to terms with the fact he would not play in tomorrow’s AFL grand final against Hawthorn.
The 21-year-old suffered a compound fracture of his right leg in the early stages of the Swans’ clash with North Melbourne in April.
He has spent the bulk of the season in rehabilitation as the John Longmire-coached side defied the odds to earn a spot on the biggest stage of the season.
Rohan yesterday said he was “excited” for his teammates and the club as Sydney attempted to win its first flag since 2005.
But he admitted to frustration after the side won last Friday’s preliminary final against Collingwood.
“I was a bit shattered after the game last week that I wouldn’t make it,” he said.
“But I’ve got over that. It’s been exciting.
“The boys have been very supportive, keeping around me. I still feel a part of the team, which is good.”
Rohan escaped Harbour City hype after the Swans’ preliminary final win and instead returned to the south-west for the Hampden league grand final.
The trip allowed him to catch up with family and friends and clear his mind ahead of AFL grand final week.
He was courtside for the Bombers’ A1 netball flag and spent time on the interchange bench as the “Baby Bombers” lost to Warrnambool in the senior football.
“I quite enjoy going back to watch the boys play, it gets me away from the Swans, refreshes my mind,” he said.
Rohan said Sydney making the last Saturday in September was testament to their will to improve on last season’s semi-final exit.
Coincidentally, grand final opponent Hawthorn knocked the Swans out of the 2011 finals with a 36-point win at the MCG.
“We were pretty disappointed last year when we got knocked out against Hawthorn,” Rohan said.
“We dug deep in the pre-season, we all came back very fit.
“We’ve been as fit as we can be. We’ve played very well this year. The games we’d (normally) lose by a couple of points we’d dig deep and come over the top.”
Rohan said Sydney gained belief from its seven-point loss to Hawthorn at the SCG in round 22, a match the Hawks were favoured to win.
The Swans beat the Hawks by 36 points at Launceston in round five.
“There is always talk about we go terribly at the MCG but the boys are confident we can get over the line,” Rohan said. “Collingwood always beat us at ANZ (Stadium) and we changed that.”
Rohan said the leg was “90 per cent” recovered and he planned to start running in November but would not play until it was fully healed.
“I’ve had great advice from (Brisbane Lion) Matt Maguire and (Fremantle’s) Micky Barlow and a couple of other boys that have broken their legs, which was a great help,” he said.