It’s fair to say Sam Graetz’s journey to another AWFA cup final with Boomers has had its challenges.
Graetz tasted cup success in 2009 as a 20-year-old, alongside current Boomers teammates Dustin Patten, Pieter Noordewier, Decha Saisanid and coach Andrew Grove.
Now 29, he’s looking to add another to his collection against Myrtleford on Sunday.
But many people doubted he would be in a position to do so this year.
Graetz was set to play with Murray United in the club’s debut season in 2015, but disaster struck in pre-season training where he suffered a major knee injury.
The left knee has given him grief ever since and after taking some time away, he returned to Boomers in 2018 with plenty of optimism.
Graetz started the campaign in strong fashion, but as the year wore on he knew he wasn’t completely out of the woods.
Scans revealed a six-millimetre meniscal tear in the same knee, which he’s booked to have surgery on next Tuesday.
Graetz missed several games leading into finals, but has lined up the past two weeks and admitted missing Sunday’s cup final simply isn’t an option.
“It got to the point where I couldn’t really keep playing and I spoke to ‘Groves’ (Andrew Grove) and said ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do here’,” Graetz said.
“I had to get the MRI first to see what the actual problem was and when I finally got the results I went to see the orthopaedic surgeon.
“He told me I wasn’t really doing anymore damage and I could play through and have surgery after the season.
“The graft and my reconstruction was still strong, it was just that tear.
“It’s always in the back of your head, but when you’re playing the game you don’t really think about it until you do a weird twist or something and it might hurt for five minutes.
“When it first started happening, it would lock up and I’d have to put pressure on it and slam it down.
“I’m on painkillers – it’s a pretty painful warm-up, but as soon as I get into it I’m usually not too bad.”
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