DARCY Graham concedes recovering from a season-ending knee injury will require mental fortitude.
The former Warrnambool midfielder had his NEAFL dream dashed when he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament at a Redland training session on Thursday.
Graham, 25, joined a Hampden league contingent at the Bombers in the off-season, eager to test himself at state league level.
Now the 2018 Maskell Medal runner-up is facing an uphill battle to return to the football field.
"It will be pretty hard to come back from I reckon," he told The Standard from Queensland.
"The mental side of things, just with how easy it just happened, it makes you pretty nervous I reckon."
Graham, who moved north to play under former Camperdown coach Phil Carse, said the injury happened during an innocuous incident.
"I was just turning like you normally would probably 30 times a week in a training sessions," he said.
"There was no contact or anything and my knee just buckled underneath me."
Graham, a Warrnambool premiership player known for his aerobic capacity, said he tried to keep a positive outlook until he got his prognosis.
"It's just bad luck I suppose. I was in a heap of pain but two minutes later I was walking around on it," he said.
"The next day I was walking around, I still had a slight limp, but I was feeling pretty confident and got the scans and found out later on that arvo that I had completely ruptured it. It's heartbreaking.
"I am definitely shattered by it but these things happen and there's worse things that happen in the world."
Graham said it was disappointing the injury came when he was "easily the fittest I've ever been".
"I was going well in the running. I felt like I was going to go all right, it's just a shame it's been cut short," he said of his NEAFL debut season.
Warrnambool coach Matt O'Brien said it was a disappointing outcome for his former ball winner.
"It is awful. He's taken a risk going up there, has put in a big pre-season to try and play in a better competition and of all things he's been struck down at training in an innocuous incident," he said.
Graham will now consider returning to Victoria for surgery and rehabilitation.
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