Shattered Myrtleford midfielder Kurt Aylett has opened up about his emotional outpouring during Saturday's game against Lavington.
The former AFL player limped from the field in tears at half-time after re-injuring his troublesome left hamstring.
In a touching moment, a number of players rushed to console the devastated Aylett once they realised the gravity of the situation.
"Yeah, it's been a pretty tough journey for me mate, from a personal point of view, I tried to hold the emotion in, but when you give so much to your team-mates and footy family, and to your own craft, sometimes it's bittersweet, but I'll get back on the horse and hopefully get back for finals," he revealed in the winning dressing room.
Aylett played one game at GWS and two at Essendon, followed by VFL stints with the Bombers and Werrribee.
He left the State league to join the Saints full-time and had played six games this season, after missing an eight-week period through injury and the COVID break.
"I don't think I've ever met a bloke that works harder and wants more out of his footy," co-coach Jake Sharp, who played with Aylett at Werribee, offered.
"We're absolutely hurting for him because we know how much he puts into it, yeah, I'm a bit lost for words."
Sharp himself is set to undergo another knee reconstruction, but you could see the injury of a great mate hurt just as much.
"He's had a massive impact on the playing group, you could see at half-time, the first thing the boys were thinking was to get around him, they know how much it means to him, he's had a horrible run with injuries," Sharp explained.
Aylett had 10 touches in the first quarter, which only highlights how much he improves the team.
As well as the strong on-baller, the Saints also lost top players Nathan Laracy (early third quarter) and Elijah Wales (early final term) with injury, while teenager Declan Bren carried an injured shoulder for much of the game, kicking two crucial goals.
"Right at the start I copped a big hit and it didn't feel too good, but I had to stay out there," he said.
"It was very stiff, but strapped it up and hoped for the best."
Meanwhile, Albury has its injury concerns after co-coach Anthony Miles (hamstring), Luke Packer (soreness) and Jake Gaynor (soreness) missed the game against Wodonga, while veteran Dean Polo didn't return for the second half.
"He got a bit tight in his calf, but it was more precautionary than anything, we didn't want to risk it," co-coach Luke Daly confirmed.
The Tigers host winless North Albury on Saturday, so the ladder leaders will be ultra-conservative.
And an ambulance was called for Yarrawonga teenager Zac Banch after he suffered a collarbone injury at home against Wodonga Raiders.
He's expected to miss a number of matches.
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The Pigeons held their MND big freeze with netballer Bridget Cassar, among others, to get 'dunked'.
Meanwhile, two players were reported in round 11.
Lavington's Sam Hopper was charged by the match review panel with rough conduct against Myrtleford's Kane Michelini in the fourth quarter, while Wodonga's Zac Brain faces the same charge against Albury's Isaac McGrath in the third term.
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