Norwood midfield star, Matthew Panos says he is ready to attack the 2022 pre-season after making a full recovery from an ACL injury sustained in 2020.
The 28-year-old missed Norwood’s entire 2021 campaign and is eyeing a return to full training at the beginning of pre-season in late November.
Panos throughout 2021 has remained connected with the playing group splitting his time between rehab and coaching on the sidelines.
After a year out, Panos said he is raring to go and looking to prove his worth in a bid to return to the starting 22 come round one next year.
“Rehabs going really well in preparation for 2022,” said Panos.
“Towards the end of last season and heading into finals I was almost at full training in terms of doing everything other than full ground match play drills.
“At the moment I have had a bit of a delay because we aren’t training, however when I get to pre-season, I’ll have a few weeks to get back up to full speed and by Christmas/January I will be 100% and doing everything.”
After a frustrating season not being able to play Panos admitted it was tough watching his teammates every week, however used his emotion and love of the game to Coach the forwards.
“It was a really tough year having two surgeries and trying to get back to play,” Panos said.
“Watching was difficult but having the role as forwards coach and being on the bench at the start of the season was beneficial as I was able to watch the play unfold and see what we need to do in games.
“I also learnt a bit more about myself going through a pretty tough 12-14 months.
“Hopefully when I get back, I can still get back to my best, I think I am tracking along really well and with a full pre-season I am looking forward to putting my best foot forward to earn my spot back.”
With several senior teammates retiring next season, Panos is hungry and determined to play on with the belief he still has plenty of good footy in him heading into next season and beyond.
“I still think I have some good footy left in me, I am treating it as a bit of redemption after missing 12 months and watching everybody play week in and week out,” Panos said.
“I think watching the team play finals and seeing a packed crowd at Coopers on Easter Thursday made me jealous and are the games you really want to play.
“I know I have a couple of good years left in me, if I thought I wasn’t up for it then I maybe would have retired, but I am confident I can get back to my best and can help this team moving forward.”