By Beth Newman
An attempted tackle, a change of direction, a buckled right knee.
Haydn Kiel felt sick to his stomach, hoping it wasn’t as bad as it seemed.
It wasn’t himself he was concerned about, but younger brother Ryan, who was taken off in the opening minutes of Morningside reserves’ second round match.
Only a week earlier, Haydn was in the same position, with the same result, and now both brothers are staring down the long road back from a ruptured ACL.
“You probably wouldn’t read about it,” Haydn said.
“I was hoping (Ryan’s) wasn’t the same thing. It was only his second game back and I want to see him do well this year.
“I felt more sick about Ryan doing his than I did about mine.”
Haydn, whose knee gave way as the midfielder broke into space against the Hills Eagles a fortnight ago, said at first it felt like a tackle, but he soon realised it was more than that.
“Originally thought I got tackled from behind but once I spoke to the boys they said no one was around, so I thought it was pretty serious,” he said.
“You make that movement 100 times throughout the year and nothing happens and then this time, the knee gives way.”
One of the central members of the Sharks midfield, Kiel said he was “shattered” to be ruled out for the 2014 NEAFL season.
“Those Tuesday and Thursday nights which are normally training and hanging out with the boys (will be hard),” he said.
“At the moment, I’m just trying to stay away from being around the club and missing out on that sort of thing, that’s the worst part I reckon.
“It’s going to be a stronger competition and I still am looking forward to seeing what the boys can do.”
The 2013 Grogan Medallist was fairly pragmatic, speaking almost two weeks after the injury, finding positives in what was an extraordinary stroke of bad luck.
“The good thing if there is one is the time frame (between now and 2015) means I don’t have push too hard, I’ve got time on my side in that sense,” he said.
“It means I can know I can take it fairly conservatively with the rehab and leave no stone unturned and get it all right.”
While Haydn’s injury stalled his entrenchment as one of the NEAFL’s premier midfielders, Ryan’s cut short a fresh start, after the 22 year-old only returned to football late this pre-season.
The boilermaker played one game in 2013 before a quad injury ended his season and he decided to head down to Morningside this year to get back into football.
“I played one game (last year) but hurt my quad and with work, I didn’t have the time and energy for full rehab then,” he said.
“I needed to get out of the house and do something.
“Since I moved up to Brisbane and with Morningside just down the road, I thought I’d give it a go.”
With Haydn’s injury in the back of his mind, Ryan knew as soon as he went down that something was very wrong.
“I fell to the ground and it cracked and popped everywhere. It wasn’t the nicest feeling,” he said.
“I was going to call him (Haydn) that morning to see how his knee was, so it was already in my head and as soon as it happened, I felt like it was the same thing.”
“I couldn’t believe it really. Doing the same knee and the same thing, it’s a bit weird.”
While it’s not ideal, Ryan’s injury setback isn’t necessarily the end for his footy, he said.
“If it pulls up sweet, I’ll probably have another go next year and get in as much of pre-season as I can,” he said.
“I’ve only been training for about a month, so next year I’ll try and get a full pre-season and see how I go.”
Out of this rare event, the Kiels have a small bright spot in that there’s always someone who’ll know what they’re going through.
While Ryan is based in Brisbane and Haydn at the Gold Coast, each knows they have the other to lean on as they work back to full fitness.
“We can help each other out with recovery and stuff like that,” Ryan said.
We’ll be catching up with Haydn and Ryan as they work their way back to full fitness.