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    Tom Williamson.

Tom Williamson back on track with Blues

Ararat footballer Tom Williamson made his return to elite-level football on Saturday night following a tough return from recurring injury.

The former Ararat Rat, who was drafted to Carlton with pick 61 in the 2016 NAB AFL Draft, became a key part of the Blues’ defence shortly after making his debut in 2017.

He played 15 matches for the season, however a back injury severely hampered his progress, and he managed only two AFL matches in the following two years.

Each return from the sidelines looked promising, but his injury continued to flare up.

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Williamson, 21, told Carlton Media earlier this month he finally believed he was ready to make an impact on the AFL again.

He attributed his recovery – under the watchful eye of director of high performance Andrew Russell – to two things.

“One is the psychological side of the injury: your body doesn’t heal as well under stress and constant worry,” he said.

“Getting that under control was a big thing for me early on and letting it happen, putting trust in Andrew Russell.

“The second thing would be pilates and getting that strength and glute work in that everyone knows is so important in a sport like AFL.”

Williamson said, if anything, his hunger and drive to succeed had increased. “I never thought I was done by any means, but at times I questioned and wondered if there were other things I could be doing,” he said.

“It never crossed my mind that I was done. I always knew that if I got a clean run at it, I was good enough to play the game.

“I didn’t know how long it was going to be until it was going to turn. Hopefully it can come out in a bit of footy for me this year.”

Williamson returned to the side in Carlton’s first win at Kardinia Park since 1996.

The Blues held off a fast-finishing Geelong to win by two points, 12.7 (79) to 11.11 (77).

Williamson was elated after the match, paying tribute to the hard yards his team-mates had put in to get the side in such a favourable position.

“To get a result tonight was awesome – and for me to be a part of that was even better,” he said. 

“I knew my chance would come at some stage, so I just had to be ready for it when it did come.”

Williamson had four kicks and four handballs on Saturday night. 

He also took three marks and laid two tackles. 

Carlton is due to play Essendon in round four, at the MCG on Saturday night. 

The Bombers could be without several key players due to potential exposure to COVID-19 after defender Conor McKenna returned a positive test on Saturday.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services advised the AFL that any Essendon player who has been in close contact with McKenna must self-isolate for the next 14 days.

However, the Bombers received welcome news yesterday that only one other player, James Stewart, would be made to isolate for the next fortnight. All players and staff received negative results after being tested on Monday.

Mixed results

Wimmera footballers had mixed results at the weekend, with Horsham’s Jarrod Berry tasting success in Brisbane’s 30-point win over West Coast.

Berry booted three goals and was named in the best for the Lions, who will host Adelaide on Sunday.

Jake Lloyd, Horsham, was among Sydney’s best players as the Swans downed a previously undefeated North Melbourne by 11 points.

Fellow Horsham exports did not fare as well, with Sebastian Ross’s St Kilda enduring a 44-point loss to Collingwood and Darcy Tucker’s Fremantle outfit falling 29 points short of Port Adelaide on Sunday night. 

Tatyoon’s David Astbury had 17 disposals in Richmond’s first loss in more than a year, to Hawthorn.

Edenhope’s Tom McDonald was due to line up for Melbourne against Essendon, but the match was postponed after McKenna’s positive COVID-19 result.

The entire June 24, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

The entire June 24, 2020 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!