Like every footballer is different, every injury is different, and unfortunately, injuries are part of sport at any level.
After impressing in his first two appearances for North Melbourne at the beginning of the season, the recruitment of Aidan Corr looked to be an immediate masterstroke for North Melbourne.
An experienced leader in the back line with his best years of football still ahead of him, Corr’s season was rocked by a toe infection that would see him miss the remainder of the season.
With David Noble ruling him out of action for the remainder of 2021, his focus is now firmly on lining up a massive 2022 pre-season, and returning to full fitness as quickly as possible.
North Media sat down with our number four, and this is what he had to say.
First off, this infection is obviously a bit of a different type of injury than most in footy. Brady Rawlings has been consistent throughout the year in saying that your overall health was the number one priority, so how is the infection and how is your health now? It was obviously a pretty potentially scary issue if you couldn’t get on top of it.
It’s pretty bizarre because I’ve never actually been in that much pain or felt sick, like the common things or symptoms you’d look for in an infection. I’m really good now, I’m back running and probably could have pushed my case to play, but I’m not sure if the calves or hamstrings would hold up. I feel really good. It was pretty weird during the year because I wasn’t in pain, but I wasn’t allowed to do anything. I was taking all these antibiotics and it was a bit difficult to get my head around it all early, but it's all part of footy I guess.
Unfortunately both yourself and Flynn Perez have been on the sidelines for most of the season, have the two of you formed a bit of a bond as you’ve progressed through rehab together?
You do grow these weird bonds, I’m not saying we wouldn’t have if we weren’t in rehab though. Especially with him being a young defender as well, he’s so keen to learn and keen to make an impact next year when he comes back in. We have grown pretty close even with Charlie Comben and others who’ve been in and out of rehab. They remind me that I’m a bit older than them, I can’t believe they’ve only turned 19 or 20. I remember when I was in my second year which didn’t feel that long ago, but it’s great to have the young fellas around. They get the energy up, they’re excited, they just love being at the club. It’s still pretty fresh for them and even though he’s (Perez) had a shocking run he brings a lot of energy and competitiveness, that’s for sure. On the bike race it can get pretty competitive and even when we’re just doing jog throughs it ends up being a sprint finish. He’s really good to work with.
Obviously only playing a couple of games for the whole season must be frustrating, but do you feel like having been here for a season you’ve got a really good feel for what North Melbourne is like as a club?
I’ve really tried to get involved with everything I possibly could. It’s been a struggle not being able to be out there, but ever since I rolled in I’ve just tried to take in as much as I could. It’s really cool to learn a lot of the history, we didn’t really have that at the Giants since it’s still a pretty new club up there, but all the past players and how much the Shinboner numbers and spirit are entrenched in the club. The way we present jerseys is awesome and we do our meetings each week and it all revolves around the history of the club, it’s really special. It’s also a great bunch of lads, just full buy-in, everyone wants to be here and it’s a really happy place.
After being out of action and then in the gym for so long, how good was it to get back out there amongst the main sessions with the bulk of the playing group?
They’re unbelievable. They welcome you with these big open arms and when you come in they support you so nicely. They make life really easy. They’ve got a good way of doing it. Even though you’re missing the bulk of games and training it’s easy to feel like you’re a bit out of it, but inside the walls you wouldn’t know any difference. I might’ve had a few extra cross training sessions that most of the boys, but they really make you feel a part of it. I’m included in meetings, my opinion is valued, the coaches value what I have to say, it’s a good place to be.
You often see players saying they’re looking forward to pre-season, but through gritted teeth. Honestly, how excited are you for pre-season 2022?
There’ll be a few lies coming out of bloke's mouths when they say they’re looking forward to pre-season, but I need it and I genuinely am excited. I’m not having a break, so I’ll continue through with my training. I won’t be at the club every day, but I’ll have my running program and training program all the way through, which I do need. I’ve had a bulk of no running this year, but all the loads and sports science behind that is really strong. I’ve got a couple of mates down here in Melbourne too that are avid fitness guys, so I’ll have plenty of hands of deck. I am looking forward to pre-season and I think it’s because we’re improving so much as well. We’re trying new things and I’m keen to be able to train and implement them out there with the boys. I’m always looking forward to training, especially with the back line to really make that a solid group.
Being on the sidelines and unable to play, you can often learn a lot about yourself. How have you stayed engaged with footy since you've been on the sidelines?
When you’re out for a long time you find other things around footy that you enjoy. I never thought I’d enjoy the coaching side of the game, but when you work with the young fellas, help them with things and see it pay off on game day it’s actually really rewarding and I’ve really enjoyed that part. I’ve tried to stay as busy as possible within the four walls, and I’ve even had a little hand in the recruiting meetings. I’ve been looking at some of the young players coming through the draft and I didn’t think I’d enjoy that a whole heap, but I thought I’d give it a go and I was weirdly into it. I’ve found these things I thought I had no interest in around the other part of the footy industry and I’ve actually really enjoyed it. Hopefully I can continue to do a bit of that whilst playing, obviously it’s a balance but I’m really enjoying the coaching of the younger fellas. I’m fully invested for the next few years, and I’m trying to help as much as I can in the club wherever my help is wanted.