Women's Footy

Young Ready to Return in 2023

West Adelaide star Lauren Young is ready to return from an ACL injury in 2023.


Lauren Young will always have November 18, 2021 in the back of her mind.

While playing a handball game at West Adelaide SANFLW training, the star of that season damaged her Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), which meant a full year recovering on the sidelines in 2022.

Coming off a season where she dominated for the SA Under 19 team, won SANFLW’s best-and-fairest, Powerade Breakthrough Player and was selected at centre in the SANFLW Team of the Year in her first year of senior football, you could have easily expected Young to have a negative mindset.

Instead, she has used the past 12 months wisely by working on her fitness in the gym.

“It was a collision accident, during a training drill,” Young told SANFL.com.au.

“One teammate bumped me on one side and then I collided with another coming the other way.

“I did a good job of it as I tore the meniscus as well.

“I just passed the 12-month mark (since the collision) and so I’m keen to get back into the action – I’m so excited.

“By the time the 2023 season starts, I will have completed 14 months of rehabilitation.

“I was the West Adelaide girls’ No.1 fan last year, but it’s fair to say I’m super keen to get on the ground and help out in a playing sense.”

Young, as expected, is also in SA Under 18 Girls Talent Hub and is one of six players from SA in the AFLW Academy.

She was awarded an Under 19 All-Australian jumper in 2021 despite being just 15 at the time.

“For me, there is definitely plenty of pride in wearing our state jumper,” Young continued.

“I’m pleased and grateful that selectors showed the confidence to select me in both squads.

“The SA Under 18 girls killed it last year; it was impressive to see.

“It would be great to be involved in another championship win with the State team this year.

“We have plenty of talent in our group and the quality coming through is growing each year.”

“The knee injury has helped with my inner strength.''

West Adelaide star Lauren Young

Young explained her primary focus and priorities during the past 12 months have been around improving her fitness, based on a mountain of gym work and plenty of running sessions.

Along with her rehabilitation, Young juggled a full year of Year 11 studies at Henley High School.

“The knee injury has helped with my inner strength,” Young smiled.

“I’m certainly mentally stronger for going through this injury.

“It has taught me to make no excuses and the gym work has helped with my overall strength.

“I’ve also appreciated the support, the company and friendship of my mates across the last 12 months.

“They have all been there to lean on when I required, which is special.”

Naturally keen for a second strong season in the SANFLW donning the Bloods’ red and black again, Young confirmed her dream since the AFLW started was to play at elite level.

Starting in the boys’ Under 8 competition with the Plympton Bulldogs a decade ago, Young will be aiming for the 2023 SANFLW season to be another stepping stone toward achieving her ultimate dream.

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