It has been a long time coming but the wait was worth it as dynamic Hockeyroos midfielder Steph Kershaw made a successful and long awaited return to the playing arena.
The 24 year old has spent the past 12 months recovering from a second knee reconstruction after she ruptured her Anterior Cruciate Ligament in an innocuous incident at training in January 2019.
Prior to the setback, Kershaw had been in stellar form and she was suddenly starting at another year on the rehabilitation trail after she had suffered a similar injury in December 2015.
But if there was ever evidence that hard work and persistence pays off, Kershaw was living proof of it as she graced the pitch in the dramatic win over Belgium in the Hockeyroos’ opening match of the 2020 FIH Pro League.
It was Kershaw’s first international since November 2018 and it was though she had never been away.
Industrious, energetic and skilful in midfield, Kershaw did not miss a beat, and after Jane Claxton’s successful penalty signalled the end of the shootout and a memorable Hockeyroos win, Kershaw was as excited as anyone and deservedly so.
“It felt so good and I’m very grateful to be back,” said Kershaw after the match.
“It was a very long and tough rehab but I feel 100 per cent confident in my knees, all of the girls have been really supportive today and I had so much fun being back out there.
“I had a few nerves to start with. The first five minutes is always a little bit scary and goes really fast, but once I settled in it was alright.
“I’m so glad we got the win and I’m stoked for the girls that we’ve started the Pro League on a winning note.”
A major feat in anyone’s language, this was a big box ticked for Kershaw as she looks to make up for lost time.
Having successfully come through the first hit out, would there be any hesitancy or concern backing up again for another match less than 24 hours later? No chance.
“I feel super fit, super confident and really excited to get back out there,” said Kershaw.
Bring on match day two!
Tickets for the Hockeyroos and Kookaburras’ FIH Pro League double headers are available now through Ticketek. All of the Australia’s FIH Pro League matches will be broadcast on Kayo and/or Fox Sports.