YOU only need to look at the replay to know why Kezie Apps thought the worst when her left leg folded underneath her in the Jillaroos win over the Kiwi Ferns earlier this month.
The Bega star was left writhing in pain after twisting awkwardly in a tackle, with replays on the Mt Smart Stadium big screen drawing a collective groan from the crowd.
She’s been no stranger to injury throughout her career, but it was a new feeling in the pain stakes.
“When I first did it I thought I’d dislocated something or broken my leg I was in so much pain,” Apps said.
“By the time they assessed it they thought I might have done my meniscus but it was two days later that I had scans that showed I’d fractured my fibula up near my lateral ligament.
“I didn’t do an ACL or a PCL, the only really bad thing is the fracture. Bones heal, I’ve been through it before, so it’s a pretty good outcome.
“It’s unfortunate but it’s come at a good time. It’s better to do it now than doing it next year and potentially missing a lot of games.”
Apps famously played on after fracturing the same leg in last year’s Auckland Nines, with the injury later requiring surgery and a six-month recovery period.
It makes her latest setback a frustrating one, but that experience leaves her confident she can get back to full strength prior to next season.
“I’m in a much batter head space than I was last time I broke my leg because it was my first major injury,” she said.
“I had no idea how everything worked, if I’d ever get back playing, if I’d ever get back to playing at that level.
“Having been through it before and come out the other side I’m in a heaps better head space because I know what I’ve got to do.
“It’s frustrating but you can’t control these things. I can control what I do from here on in.”
Her last recovery saw her make it back on the park for the Blues Interstate Challenge win in Wollongong last year, but she won’t be setting the same return pace this time round.
“I don’t think I rushed back last time but I probably wasn’t quite where I should have been before returning to footy,” she said.
“I might have come back a bit early and not quite built everything back up. I
“In saying that this was a freak accident, it was just unfortunate how I turned into it. I’ve got a little bit time this time around and don’t need to rush back.
These first six weeks are probably the most crucial with how everything heals so I’m definitely taking these first six weeks pretty easy.
“After that I’ll do the work and hopefully I’ll be stronger, fitter and everything else when I get back next year.”
It was a sour end but Apps said the 2018 season proved another monumental step for the women’s game.
“We had our first state of Origin, the women’s premiership, it’s just been awesome,” she said.
“Every year it just keeps getting bigger and better. Next year who knows what’s going to happen but I just can’t wait for it to come.”