Just six months after suffering a traumatic arm injury, Collingwood defender Jeremy Howe played out his thrilling AFL grand final victory with three broken ribs.
A big bump from Brisbane Lions star Charlie Cameron left Howe on the MCG pitch early in the final quarter of the Magpies’ epic four-point win, which secured their 16th premiership.
Howe had to leave the field after the clash, but returned to play the match in obvious discomfort.
“I think three broken ribs will be enough,” he told AAP.
“They’re clicking hard. This is not ideal.
Jeremy Howe played with three broken ribs in Collingwood’s grand final victory
Courageous defender overcame injury in dramatic match at MCG
Howe admitted to feeling “at home” as he drank a beer in Collingwood’s rowdy venues.
But the pain couldn’t compare to an awkward landing in a marking contest against Geelong in the season opener.
The 33-year-old was sent off the field after breaking his arm in a freak accident which was deemed too gruesome to replay during the broadcast.
Less than two weeks after the operation, an infection delayed his recovery and left Howe uncertain about his future.
“I’m probably thinking about hanging up (the boots), to be honest. The first six weeks were really tough on my arm,” he said.
“I really contemplated everything, it’s amazing the thoughts that go through your head – mostly negative thoughts.”
Winning a grand final was certainly not one of the things Howe thought about.
But with the support of his wife Kahlia, he bounced back to make his return in round 15 against Adelaide and play every match from then on en route to the Premiership Cup.
The key defender was crucial to Collingwood’s defence, racking up 24 disposals, seven intercepted possessions and four score involvements with a team-high 591m gained.
Howe suffered a horrific broken arm earlier this year, but finished his season with the flag
“It’s now in the history books,” he said.
“Coming back at all was going to be a huge bonus, but this? It is difficult to explain. I don’t know yet if it’s real.
“I’m so grateful to be able to share it with my family because they’re the ones who helped me get through it.
“Especially my wife, she sees me at my worst and this (arm injury) was definitely my worst.
“She helped me out, picked me up, kicked my ass when I needed it and the rest is history.”