By JEFF STEPHENSON
YOUNG Redlands defender Matthew McGannon underwent surgery last Monday and will have a little break back in his small Victorian hometown hamlet of Fish Creek in south-eastern Gippsland enjoying some “home-cooked meals” as he embarks on his recuperative process in readiness for 2020.
The 19-year-old suffered a severe shoulder injury after a heavy collision against Southport a few weeks ago, which brought his first season with the Bombers to a premature end.
“I’ll be coming back, don’t worry about that,” Matt said as he pondered his introductory NEAFL season.
He is one of several Bombers’ players to have suffered long-term injuries this year.
But the youngster intends working as feverishly as he can to ready himself for the obligatory pre-season and launch himself in as best shape as possible for his next assault at NEAFL level.
Matt came to the Bombers with outstanding credentials as among the elite players in the Victorian TAC Cup competition having that opinion verified when he was named in the back pocket in the TAC Cup Team of the Year.
After admitting he took some time to get settled into the Queensland lifestyle, he did appreciate that everything since his move up north in January has flown by very quickly.
His early contact with the game and the move to the next level didn’t transition as well as he might have liked, but his second half of the season has seen a marked improvement.
“I guess it was about dealing with moving inter-State and then coming out of junior footy to dealing with more mature bodies.
“But I’ve learned plenty.
“I’ve had good feedback from the coaching staff, and we’ve discussed my development and I feel I’ve grown a fair bit, which will help set me up for next year.
“The thing is I’ve enjoyed the experience of playing interstate against AFL-listed players and trying always to be competitive at the level.
The keyhole surgery to the labrum on Monday went successfully.
The next step, of course, will be recovery and then he’ll be getting back into the program readying himself for the Bombers’ 2020 surge.
Matt says he feels “at home” in the Redlands.
“It’s a bit like back home, you know, a real good community spirit and similar facilities and the playing group – well, what can I say – they’re the best.”
Moose, the name he readily goes by and was instigated because his younger siblings had trouble pronouncing Matthew – moved in with teammates Kailem Baker (KJ) and Harrison Kerr and he says the three of them get along like a house on fire.
Well, not literally, but figuratively.
“Everything’s gone smoothly in that regard. It’s been great.”
Well, it can’t be THAT great.
When asked what he’ll be enjoying most when he returns to Fish Creek amid family and friends he said: “Well, I’ll enjoy being babysat for a few weeks and probably the home-cooked meals.”