RAW DEAL: AFLW rookie season dashed by injury
AUSSIE RULES: In what was a crushing blow for Yamba AFLW rising star Brianna McFarlane, she has been ruled off the field for her rookie year.
McFarlane is expected to go under the surgeon's knife on the Gold Coast tomorrow, with her expected return to the field coming after the close of the 2019 AFLW season.
It was meant to be her rookie season in the national competition after the promising full forward was picked up by the Brisbane Lions in the AFLW draft in October.
But a horror injury during her first training drill with the club has ruled the promising full forward off the field.
While doing ground work with a teammate, McFarlane dislocated and chipped a bone in her shoulder, which resulted in a torn labrum.
"I just landed awkwardly on my elbow and rolled onto my back, and in that moment I felt my shoulder come out," she said. "I sort of put it back in myself on the field.
"I think I was in a fair bit of shock at first, there really wasn't any pain. But as my body started slowing down, the pain caught up with me."
Lions AFLW coach Craig Starcevich said it was extremely disappointing to lose McFarlane for the 2019 season.
"Bri showed lots of potential in her short time training with the team," Starcevich said.
"We will support her as best as we can through the rehab process and I look forward to seeing what she can achieve when she can return to action."
While she struggled to come to terms with the prospect of missing her rookie season, McFarlane said it has become easier to deal with mentally after a couple of weeks.
The Lions have organised for the teen to meet with a counsellor each week to help with the burden.
"It is pretty sh--, but what can I do about it?" she said. "Luckily I am in a pretty good environment at the Lions, my teammates and coaches have been so supportive.
"My family back home in Yamba have also been really good to me."
She has even turned to a few unconventional forms of therapy to deal with the injury.
"I invested in an adults colouring-in book and it is actually helping keep me sane," she said. "I was up until 1am the other night doing it, you can just get lost in it."
Despite the injury McFarlane is yet to miss a Lions training session, focussing her energy on the bike while her teammates get involved in contact work.
"I will support them through the whole season, and then next year I am coming back fitter and stronger," she said.