South Colac coach Josh Black says it will be hard to find a better story than Luke Burnett’s in Colac district football this year.
Burnett will return to the Roos’ senior side tomorrow, six months after he feared he would never play footy again.
The 26-year-old was hospitalised for more than 50 days with a condition that forced the removal of his large bowel.
But Burnett played in a reserves match last weekend and injury setbacks have fast-tracked his return to the top-flight competition ahead of South’s clash with the Western Eagles at home tomorrow.
Burnett said his nerves settled once the ball bounced when he travelled to Lorne last weekend to play his first game of the 2019 season.
“It was mixed emotions early on, but once we got out there it was all game-day situation,” he said.
“I was a little bit rusty early, but I found my way and got a bit of the ball. Once I had that first hit, I was right, so it was good to get that out of the way and get a couple of kicks.
“We were probably planning to have a couple of games in the twos just to get a few ks in the legs, but with a few guys that got injured on the weekend an opportunity came a bit quicker than we thought.”
The South Colac assistant coach revealed last month the extent of his battle with ulcerative colitis, a condition that he was diagnosed with in 2016 but intensified in February this year.
Burnett lost more than 10 kilograms, surgeons removed his large bowel and he is living with a stoma, an opening on the front of the stomach, that allows faeces to be collected in a bag on the outside of the body.
But returning to footy to join the ladder-leading Roos was a driving force of Burnett’s, which he achieved last weekend.
See today’s Colac Herald for more.