Star Saint credits staff and teammates with her return to the field
Photo by AFL Media
Southern Saints Co-captain, Frankie Hocking has made a triumphant return to the VFLW and has shed some light on her significant rehabilitation, after missing the first nine weeks of the season due to a pre-season mishap.
Hocking felt right at home in her first game back since 2019, after injuring her calf in dramatic circumstances almost three months ago.
Hocking brought her trademark voice and communication and was a general down back — a huge reason why Port Melbourne could only score 28-points against the resolute Saints defence.
“It was long awaited, eagerly anticipated and quite nerve wracking,” Hocking said.
“My strengths in the game are my positioning and reading of the game…it’s ingrained in my brain and I always knew that was my strength and I could bring that back in no matter how long I was out.”
The return was a testament to hard work — but it wasn’t easy for the diligent defender.
“Right before round one this year in our last preseason game, I was finishing the preseason warmup and felt a really sharp pain in my calf,” Hocking said.
“Ultimately, it was a tear in the central tendon of my soleous.”
“It’s a pretty major injury…it was a 12–14-week rehab program.”
Hocking missed the entirety of the 2020 season — as did every Australian footballer due to the COVID-19 pandemic — and was therefore entitled to be distraught over waiting another three months to pull the boots back on.
But the effort of her teammates to help get her back showcases the fantastic culture that Hocking and the leadership group are building at the Saints.
“The girls really rallied around me during my rehab, cheering me on running laps at training and my work on the spin bike.
“The continued support is going to drive us forward (towards finals),” she said.
“The support from the team as a general consensus is pushing everyone forward, not just me.”
Careful not to exclude the other key influence over her recovery, the Co-captain couldn’t speak highly enough of the tireless work of the physios assisting her recovery.
“The original thought process was that I’d get back for round 13, and the fact that I got back for round 10 shows the care and effort that the rehab team put into that process for me,” she said.
Photo by Tony Vella
While the job is now a different one for Hocking, she believes it has similarities to the one she played for the first half of the season, as the Saints aim to lock in a finals appearance.
The Saints currently sit 6th on the ladder with a healthy percentage, in a competition where the top six play finals.
“What I bring to the team is that vocal presence, and I’m happy to do that on the sideline or on the field.”
“My role is still to support the unit and support the team,” Hocking said.
“(Co-captains) Deanna (Jolliffe) and Tara (Bohanna) have led by example and really driven the team to exceed…those girls and the rest of the leadership team have really made sure the squad feels strong and united.”
Written by Seb Mottram - Sandringham Football Club Media