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Hunter’s Wallaroos fly out for Women’s Rugby World Cup BIG CHALLENGE: Hunter Wallaroos, from left, Mollie Gray, Katrina Barker and Sarah Riordan in Sydney on Tuesday before flying to the world cup. Picture: ARU Media
Mollie Gray on the sidelines for Maitland last month before playing her first game since knee surgery. Picture: Michael Hartshorn
TweetFacebookNewcastle Herald from Sydney airport.“I did my ACL, MCL, PCL, meniscus, dislocated my kneecap, chewed up all the cartilage and tore my VMO [vastus medialis oblique] as well.I sort of did the whole thing.”
Sydney surgeon Dr David Broe, who also rebuilt Gray’s knee after she tore her MCL at the 2014 World Cup, used a hybrid LARS synthetic ligament and hamstring graft to repair the ACL.
“It was still risky. We knew that I would either have just enough time or just fall short.He’s only done that operation, with a hybrid, on myself and one other person.”
Gray then embarked on a rehabilitation program with Newcastle trainer Darren Coughlan before making a remarkable return to the field 10 days ago for the Blacks against Merewether Carlton.
“My trainer, a week after surgery, I was in his gym. If I was limping around the gym, he would yell at me, so I had to force myself to walk properly, which some people think is a little bit crazy, but there is always a method to his madness. We complement each other quite well. He forced me to get stuck in.
“I went up to Maitland on the 21stof July and I ended up playing for Maitland the last 20 minutes. That’s it. That’s all I’ve done.
“The [Wallaroos] forwards coach called me before the game and said, ‘I don’t care if you drop every ball. I don’t care if you miss every tackle. I just want you to get out there and make sure mentally you’re good to go.’I didn’t drop every ball, I didn’t miss every tackle. I think I actually went quite well.”
, ranked sixth in the world, have nevermade a world cup final and were crushed 53-10 by world champions England,44-17 byworld No.2 New Zealand and45-5 bythird-ranked Canada at a tournament in New Zealand this year.
They face another uphill battle this month as pool rivals Ireland (5) and France (4) are ranked higher. Only the three pool winners and one second-placed side progress to the semi-finals.
They meet Irelandat a sold-out UCB Bowl in Dublin on Thursday next week before facing France and world No.14 Japan.
Joining Gray on the plane are former Merewether Carlton fly-half or centre Sarah Riordan and University scrum-half Katrina Barker, who moved to Newcastle last year.
The Wallaroos squad of 28 is captained by Shannon Parry, one of two Rio Olympic sevens gold medallists in the party, along with Sharni Williams.
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