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Setback for Birch

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 03: Grant Birchall of the Hawks marks the ball during a Hawthorn Hawks AFL training session at Xavier College on December 03, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images/AFL Media)
Birchall was back doing ball work with his teammates before his most recent injury setback.

Hawthorn veteran Grant Birchall has suffered a setback in his recovery from his latest injury, going under the knife for another round of knee surgery.

The 30-year-old underwent a procedure to have floating cartilage removed from his troublesome right knee.

Birchall attended the Hawks' summer training camp in Mooloolaba before heading for surgery.  

Birchall has played just five matches since the start of 2017. His troubles began when he injuring his right knee in Round 7 that year – coincidentally, his first game back from a broken jaw. 

He returned in Round 14, playing two matches before suffering another setback that required a PCL reconstruction.

Two separate surgeries in early 2018 had given him hope of a late-season comeback as the Hawks played finals, but an adductor complaint ended his bid to return.

Having joined his teammates for the start of the Hawks' pre-season training, Birchall spoke of his challenging rehabilitation earlier this month. 

"It's been a frustrating 18 months, it's fair to say, but I'm feeling really good, the knee's in a good spot and I'm right to go for day one (of pre-season), so I'm looking forward to it," he said.

"I was close (to playing in the finals series), but then I had little interruptions as I was coming back, so I had a little hammy and a little bit of a groin (problem). 

"If we had beaten Melbourne in that final, the plan was to play half a game in the twos that weekend, then try and get back for West Coast the week after, but it didn't eventuate."

Birchall has played 245 matches and joins Jarryd Roughead as the only remaining member of the 2008 premiership side still on the Hawks' list.


The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs