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AS TOUGH as it is for Lee Coghlan to be missing another season of football, the star Sandhurst midfielder can still manage to find a positive.
And that is that when he does finally return to the field for the Dragons in the Bendigo Football-Netball League next season, he will do so with the ruptured ACL he suffered in March last year in a practice match against Rochester having had two full years to recover.
"If I come back and re-do my knee again next year, it isn't going to be because I've come back too early, that's for sure," Coghlan said on Wednesday.
"The one major positive that I can take from there being no football this season is my knee will have had two full years to recover."
Given his knee injury was suffered during pre-season last year, Coghlan was forced to watch the Dragons' entire 2019 campaign that ended with an elimination final loss to Golden Square from the sidelines.
"It was obviously really tough not being able to play last year, but this year it's a bit easier... given there's no season I don't feel that I'm missing out because everyone else isn't playing," Coghlan said.
"Last year though you'd go along to the footy each weekend and you'd see your mates out there playing, but this year there is no senior country footy being played, so we're all missing out."
Coghlan is also missing out on fulfilling his other great football passion - coaching.
Coghlan would have again coached Catherine McAuley College in the School Sport Victoria Premier football competition - which his team won last year - but currently there is no inter-school sport permitted.
"I love being involved in the school footy... it's awesome for the players to be able to represent their school and they all bring so much energy," Coghlan said.
"I was really looking forward to coaching them again and, hopefully, there might be the chance at some stage to play a one-off game against Bendigo Senior.
"That would be awesome for the boys if a game like that could get up, especially for the boys in Year 12 with everything they have had to go through this year."
While there is no BFNL senior season being played this year, the league is running an under-18 football and 17-and-under netball competition that is earmarked to start on July 25.
"What has happened this year makes you realise just how important country football is for so many people," said Coghlan, who is closing in on 200 senior games at Sandhurst.
"Growing up in Bridgewater, going to the local footy was where people went to catch up with each other, so mentally for so many people country footy is a great outlet.
"And it's not so much the footy itself, it's the opportunity to be able to get together, so it has been really tough without that this year."
The Lee Coghlan file at Sandhurst:
* Michelsen Medal in 2009
* Premiership in 2016
* Inter-league player in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2018
* Selected in BFNL 2010s Team of the Decade
* No.11 in Addy 2010s BFNL Player of the Decade Rankings
50 MOST DOMINANT FLAG SEASONS IN BFL, HDFL, LVFL SINCE 1990
No. 42 & 41 - Heathcote 1992, Sandhurst 2004
No. 44 & 43 - Eaglehawk 2008, Elmore 2007
No. 46 & 45 - Mount Pleasant 1990, Newbridge 2018
No. 48 & 47 - Gisborne 2006, Calivil United 1990
No. 50 & 49 - Calivil United 2003, Eaglehawk 2018
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