Broken jaw sidelines Smallwood
Great Southern draft prospect Tyron Smallwood is confident he can still play a part in WA’s campaign at the AFL National Under-18s Championships, despite suffering a broken jaw in a trial match on Saturday.
Smallwood was one of four Great Southern footballers picked in the WA State 18s and has started the WAFL season brilliantly with Claremont, but his hopes of playing in WA’s opening fixture on Sunday week have been shattered by this latest injury.
The 18-year-old midfielder was attempting a spoil from a short kick against Swan Districts’ league side in the trial match when he collided with an opponent’s shoulder, breaking his jaw in two places.
After going to hospital for scans, Smallwood underwent surgery on Sunday morning and had two screws and two plates inserted in his jaw to repair the damage.
The injury is likely to have Smallwood on the sidelines for close to six weeks, putting his championship in jeopardy.
“I came up to spoil and he went for a chest mark and I collected his shoulder,” Smallwood said.
“It took about 30 seconds for it to really set in once I found out the damage and I was pretty emotional.
“But now I’ve realised I might be able to play, so I’ve just got to keep my head up and do all the right things to get back.”
Smallwood is targeting a return to the State 18s for their third match against Vic Country in Geelong on June 29 and then the final fixture against the Allies on July 4 at Etihad Stadium. “I talked to three different people (about recovery time),” he said.
“At the moment, I’m going to say six weeks, but I’m hoping to get back for the last two games.
“Hopefully I can still go away with the team and I’ll still be at training — basically I can do a mini four-week pre-season.
“The State coaches will give me a program to do and I’ll work hard to get back for the end of the championships.”
Smallwood is rated highly among the group of midfielders in the WAFL colts competition and playing in the under-18 championships would enhance his chances of being selected in the AFL national draft later this year.
WA begin their under-18 championships on Sunday, June 3 against South Australia in Adelaide.
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