Q&A with Brisbane Roar's Lauren Colthorpe

Girls FC fans love seeing Lauren Colthorpe on the pitch for both Brisbane and the Westfield Matildas. Girls FC caught up with Colthorpe to see how she's going, when we can expect to see her back, and what her new, secret-squirrel role is at Brisbane Roar.

Girls FC fans love seeing you on the pitch for both Brisbane and the Westfield Matildas. Can you tell us when we can expect to see you back in action?

Aw, thank you. I should be back on the pitch around April next year. Five more months of rehab to go and I-m really looking forward to getting back on the pitch :) In the interim, can you tell us about your rehab?

At the moment I-m in the 'protection phase', so the focus is on very light strengthening work and giving my knee time to heal. I-m non-weight-bearing so I-ve been on crutches for seven weeks and have a little over two weeks to go. Other than that it's been lots of upper body and glut/hip work in the gym to keep me ticking over. I use a compex (muscle stimulating machine) for my quads while in at the QAS to keep the muscles surrounding my knee from disappearing. In two weeks I can start working my knee more and slowly get into light bike work. Until then I-ll be getting in the pool to build back some fitness and before I commence playing I-ll be doing a good two to three months of solid strength and conditioning work in the gym.

Have you gotten any good advice from team mates about knee rehab?

I have. I-ve spoke to other players who have been in a similar situation to mine. They're advice was to be patient, listen to my body, and assured me with good rehab I-ll be able to make it back on the pitch as they did. Sarah Walsh had been there for me since I hurt it in April, so it's been nice to have that support from a mate who's been through it all herself and more.

Any sympathy from family, friends, team mates?

Haha, I had a lot of sympathy to begin with, but I have handled the whole situation quite well. This is far from my first setback so once they all saw I was ok, they felt that bit less sorry for me. And around my friends/team mates I prefer not to talk about it and just enjoying being apart of the team in whatever way I can.

We-ve noticed you-re still turning up to training. We love that you-re there supporting the team. What sorts of things are you learning from watching rather than doing? And are they setting you any jobs while you-re out of action (or are you heckling)?

Yeah I can't seem to stay away. I love training and the whole environment of it—something I-ve learnt since being injured. Just being in the gym or doing my rehab while the girls train is very therapeutic for me, haha. It helps fill the void of missing being out there, and I love watching football and talking about how the girls our doing with the coaches. I really want the girls to have another great season, so if just being the smiling girl on crutches who parks in the disabled car space helps that then that's what I-ll do.

As for my roles this season, I have just been appointed as the team's official urine analyst (testing the girls for dehydration—yay?), ball pumper upperer, post-match stretching co-ordinator, and undercover secret intelligence agent in which I call my friends from other clubs before we play them and coax them into slipping me the starting line-up and formation. Servet Uzunlar fell for it last week (thanks Servy!). Guess I-ve just blown my cover, though. Basically I-m working my way up the ranks and gaining invaluable R.E.S.P.E.C.T at the club.

Thoughts on the league so far?

I watched our game against Sydney on the weekend and despite both teams being slightly disappointed with the game, you can see the league and the standard progressing each year. I expect this year to be the most competitive. The influx of foreigners coming over has strengthened the teams and having players like Ariane Hingst and Megan Rapinoe play in the league raises the standard and is a huge step towards the league becoming more professional.

I think any Aussie, male or female, would have been entertained by Rapinoe's skill on the weekend and I myself felt like a fan watching with excitement, despite the fact it was bittersweet being a Roar girl. Caitlin Foord never ceases to entertain me as well. The kid-s a freak athlete and I think it'll be great for the supporters to get to see what I expect to be a competitive competition and increased standard this season.

Predictions for who-ll take out the league (or will you be considered a traitor if you say any team other than Brisbane)?

Well I-m already a traitor having left Newcastle, so nothing to lose there, haha. Honestly though, I believe Brisbane, Newcastle, and Sydney will be the top three and I find it hard to split them at this stage. We (Brisbane) will be strengthened by the return of Aivi Luik, Elise Kellond-Knight, and Kim Carroll, and Sydney are always a strong side. Newcastle have recruited really well with Lisa De Vanna, Ariane Hingst, Melissa Barbieri, and Westfield Young Matildas captain Alanna Kennedy, and I think they will only get better as the season goes on and the girls begin to gel.

So this year I think the title is up for grabs and it'll be the form side at the back end of the season that takes it out. Melbourne's another team that have recruited well and I think they'll be a competitive young side, and Canberra are always tough to beat. Sorry Adelaide and Perth, but I think you'll be fighting it out for the wooden spoon. Happy for you to prove me otherwise :)

Has being injured given you time for other activities or has your time been filled with doctor and physio appointments?

A lot of my time has been filled with doctor and physio appointments, rehab, and trying to cook and do my groceries while on crutches (nightmare), but it has giving me time to concentrate on university and my marks are appreciating that. I have a strong interest in physiotherapy so I-m looking forward to eventually knocking over all my subjects and building a career there.

It-s tricky to stay positive when you-re injured because you just want to get out and play. Any pointers?

It's always hard to stay positive when you-re dealing with disappointments, but if you can you will be much better off. I went through a slump after the Women-s World Cup where I was very disappointed—not just because of my knee, but because the whole football year for me personally was disappointing.

There's no good in staying in a negative place, though, and I decided to move on and forget about it, not worry about the things I couldn't change, and stay positive and keep everything in perspective, which has really helped. There's people a lot worse off than injured athletes, and the fact I have the opportunity to come back to the game instead of being forced out of it is something I can only be thankful for and right now. I-m just excited to get back on the pitch. I love challenges and getting back out there will be just that so I am looking forward to what-s ahead.

What do the next few years hold for you?

Right now I couldn't tell you. I'd love to spend them playing football and finishing my uni degree, so hopefully I can continue to balance that. Playing overseas again would be great so hopefully I can pursue that as well. My knee will play a big part in how things pan out for me so I-m hoping I can get back to 100% and be in the position to make my own choices.

Some of your team mates and friends are currently playing in Denmark, something you-ve done previously. What kind of advice would you give them? Any plans to head back over at any stage?

I guess I would suggest they just take the experience in, learn from the different style of play and coaching, and enjoy it. The weather becomes quite harsh and it can be miserable heading to training in the snow, but I look back on it now and appreciate that I got to experience it.

To make the most of the travelling and living in Europe would be my other suggestion, with so many different countries just a short trip away it's definitely worth taking off when you get a weekend off and seeing some place new. I only got two hours in Verona, Italy, with Servet Uzunlar after one of our Champions Leagues games, and we barely said a word to each other while checking the place out. It was amazing.

I keep in touch with the girls and staff at Fortuna, and have made some good friends there. They've been trying to coax me back and it's definitely something I-m considering again for next year. The only thing holding me back is having to further delay my studies, so will see what happens there :)

We heard a rumour it-s your birthday today [the day we interviewed her]. How have you been spending it?

Haha, the rumour is true—it is my birthday. I had a good sleep in after a big weekend celebrating my house mate and Westfield W-League commentator Alicia Ferguson's 30th and catching up with friends. I then went for lunch and coffee with a few of the Roar girls.

I-m now about to get working on an assignment then it's off to training tonight to do some boxing with my fellow injured team mate Amy Chapman. So a very standard day for me. I get overwhelmed and a little uncomfortable when the attention is on me so I-m not one to throw a party. Happy to go to anyone else's, though :)