Fresh chance

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - AN­DREW HAMIL­TON

LION Sam Skin­ner will be for­given if he doesn’t stick around af­ter train­ing at Perth’s Do­main Sta­dium this af­ter­noon for some ex­tras.

In fact, if he goes look­ing for more work he’s likely to get a tug on the jumper from a coach or a se­nior player.

The pow­er­ful de­fender will make his AFL de­but for Bris­bane against West Coast to­mor­row – a year af­ter first be­ing selected for se­nior duty.

Skin­ner’s ( pic­tured) story is all about ter­ri­ble luck and a ter­rific at­ti­tude.

He was set to make his de­but against Port Ade­laide in Round 18 last year. He’d re­ceived the con­grat­u­la­tory phone calls and texts, or­gan­ised the fam­ily for the big mo­ment and got through the fi­nal train­ing ses­sion of the week.

Then he went look­ing for a bit of ex­tra mark­ing prac­tice. “I went and found some ex­tra work on the bags and went up to mark the footy and landed awk­wardly,’’ he said.

“I knew I had done it straight­away. Your body tells you you’ve done it but my mind was telling me I was fine.

“But I woke up the next morn­ing and it was badly swollen and pretty sore and the scans con­firmed the worst.

“It was a com­plete turn- around. I’d al­ready got­ten all these texts and calls con­grat­u­lat­ing me and then they started com­ing in with best wishes, it was an emo­tional roller­coaster.’’

And it was one he had rid­den be­fore. The first time he rup­tured his ACL was mid­way through his Un­der- 18s year.

Bris­bane needed key de­fend­ers and took a gam­ble, se­lect­ing him with pick 47 in the 2015 draft even though he had six months of re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion work from his knee re­con­struc­tion still to com­plete.

He even­tu­ally re­cov­ered and took just six games in the NEAFL last year to earn a callup.

When the mark­ing ac­ci­dent popped his ACL again, he was off for an­other 12 months in the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion group, mean­ing 17 of his 20 months at the Lions have been spent in in­jury iso­la­tion. HAWTHORN has kept its slim fi­nals hopes alive with a stunning six point win against Sydney at the MCG in a match that was full of biff from the open­ing bounce.

It was a case of punch, then counter punch be­tween the long- time AFL ri­vals but the Hawks had the last laugh as they held on for a 10.12.72 to 9.12.66 vic­tory at the MCG.

Liam Shiels and Isaac Smith re­ally stepped for the Hawks and big fel­las Jar­ryd Roug­head ( above) Ben McEvoy dom­i­nated.

Nic New­man found a ton of it for the Swans and Tom Pap­ley kicked three, but the Hawks were too good in the end — just.

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