Returning Sydney FC star Amy Harrison admits she held serious doubts about her ability to get back on the pitch after sustaining a second serious knee injury.
The 22-year-old suffered a heartbreaking anterior cruciate ligament tear 11 months ago, but has played the last two games for the Sky Blues in the Westfield W-League.
HEROIC MOMENTS: All's fair in love and war as Khamis sisters go head to head
ROUND 6 WRAP: Westfield Matildas in the Westfield W-League: Foord and Kerr firing on all cylinders
HOW TO WATCH: Every Westfield W-League game in Round 7
It was an arduous road of hard work, countless hours of rehab and dealing with the mental demons that go with such a serious injury.
“I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times where I thought ‘maybe this isn’t for me’ and that it was going to be too hard,” Harrison told www.w-league.com.au.
“There are obviously times where you’re going through such a serious injury again, you question if you’re going to get back to the standard that you want to get to and the standard you know you can.
“There are times where you can’t even kick a ball, so you’re thinking ‘am I ever going to do this again?’ and when you’re going through a serious injury again it’s hard to clear those doubts from your mind because they’re always there.
“I did a lot of work mentally and physically, [but] this one was a lot harder mentally. I’m very glad I stuck with it and pushed those doubts aside and made sure it was all positive thoughts.”
Harrison played the full 90 minutes in her first game back, a 2-0 loss to Canberra United a fortnight ago, before being substituted late in Sydney FC’s 5-1 drubbing of Brisbane Roar on the weekend.
“Obviously I was very nervous [before the first game] but it was more just excitement at the same time,” the 22-year-old said.
“I knew I was going to be playing that game but it wasn’t only until a few hours before that I actually found out I was starting so it’s probably a good thing I found out quite late so I didn’t have too much time to think about it.
“I’ve worked so hard for that game and to come back and play again. So putting everything that I’ve done for the past 11 months into that and starting off right on a good note and working hard from there.”
Harrison added: “The body’s going well. Obviously, the first two games have been longer than I thought I’d be playing, I’ve had 90 minutes and 84 minutes in my legs now.
“I’m very happy with how that’s going minutes-wise. It was very nice to win [against Roar] as well so it helps the day after, but physically I’m feeling really good.
“The body’s pulling up really well, the knee has been fantastic. Two games in, I couldn’t be happier.”
It’s perhaps no coincidence the Sky Blues produced their best performance of the campaign with Harrison now back bossing their midfield.
In arguably career-best form before her latest setback, the Camden-born playmaker is eager to return to her high standards as soon as possible.
Especially with the lure of a spot in Alen Stajcic’s 23-player squad for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
“The main [goal] for me is to stay healthy, stay fit, keep myself on the field and build the game minutes,” Harrison admitted.
“I want to be as effective as I can on the field and make sure I’m doing everything that I can on and off the field to hopefully get myself on the plane to France.”