By Mathew Asciak
Despite suffering two ACL injuries in recent years, Ciara Elliott is working towards making an appearance in the inaugural season for the Coburg Women’s team in the club’s illustrious 130-year history.
Elliott, 22, has experienced how unsympathetic the life of an athlete can be, embarking on the much too familiar road to recovery more than once. This time, however, she possesses a resilient and positive outlook, as she focuses on making a full recovery and sets her sights on her Coburg debut later this season.
Speaking about her personal goals for the season, Elliott expressed her desire to get the chance to play alongside her teammates. “I think just playing a game will be amazing for me, to improve fitness, running and also the skills,” Elliot explained.
After seeing her younger sister Laura playing footy, Elliott took up the sport when she was 15, joining the U18 youth girls team at the Point Cook Bulldogs. “My little sister was playing with the boys and I thought it was really cool,” Elliott said. In her time at the Point Cook Centrals, she received a personal accolade, winning the club’s Best and Fairest award in 2019.
As is the case with many athletes who endure long-term injuries, the process of recovery can be a lonely one. “I was doing recovery by myself for a bit and I found it hard and was a bit lost… I didn’t know if I was on track,” Elliott said.
Since joining Coburg this year, the 22-year-old has received major support from the coaching staff. “I think having the Coburg osteopath and even the strength and conditioning people been a major help,” she said.
Senior Women’s Head Coach, Liam Cavanagh has also been a positive figure for Elliott during her experience with club tryouts and rehabilitation. “(When) trying out for this team I thought I wouldn’t make it,” she explained. “I thought I’d be lucky to make the development squad, so when ‘Cav’ offered me a contract, I was blown away. He’s obviously given me a massive opportunity and he has faith in me… telling me to take my time and don’t rush.”
When asked about her ongoing rehabilitation from the ACL tear, Elliott explained that her outlook during the process is a lot more positive than it once was. “I can see myself playing this year, which is great,” she said. “(I am) feeling a lot fitter, stronger and I want to only get better, so it’s been a good thing.”
The Coburg Senior Women had the chance to go on a pre-season camp to Ararat earlier in the pre-season, giving the team a chance to build on the three pillars that the team prides itself on, which are ‘Lead, Unite and Leave A Legacy’. Reflecting on the camp, Elliott said the experience was an invaluable one.
“It was amazing. It was a great way to form a bond between everyone. I definitely came back with stronger friendships. The biggest thing I took away was learning that everyone has a story, everyone loves footy as much as I do and we’re all here to have a good time, but also take things seriously and learn off each other,” she explained.
Despite not anticipating playing until June, Elliott made her way out onto Sir Doug Nicholls Reserve to play one quarter in the Lions’ inaugural practice match, highlighting her commitment to leading, uniting, and leaving a legacy.