He’s already vowed to return to the field for Werribee, but now it’s official: Max Augerinos will be back at Avalon Airport Oval in 2018.
The 19-year-old has re-committed to the club ahead of its return to being a standalone entity in the VFL and is determined to be fit and firing for round one after undergoing a second knee reconstruction earlier in the year.
Augerinos said he was never in any doubt over where he would be next year and that he was looking forward to the club going it alone out of its new $11.75 million facility.
“It’s very exciting. I think the club is heading in a good direction,” he said.
“It’s really impressed me in the 12 months I’ve been here. I don’t see any reason to leave.”
Recruited from the Geelong Falcons ahead of the 2017 season, Augerinos proved to be one of Werribee’s most prized newcomers after debuting for the club in its season-opening clash against Geelong in Torquay on Easter Monday.
He became an integral part of the midfield, playing every senior game before suffering the devastating blow of a ruptured ACL against Footscray in round 10 – the same injury he sustained while playing for the Falcons in 2014.
“It was pretty frustrating because I’ve done it before and know the effort you have to put in to get back,” he said of the setback.
“But the club has rallied around me and just made it a lot easier for me.
“It’s just a great environment to not only get my knee right but to also get my headspace right and get motivated to try to get back for round one next year.”
With his rehabilitation progressing well, Augerinos is on track for a return to football early next season with Geelong Football League outfit St Mary’s, the local club he has aligned himself with since the demise of the AFL Victoria Development League.
With the approval of and in consultation with the Werribee medical staff, he has again been granted the opportunity to work with physiotherapist Justin Edwards of the Corio Bay Health Group, who oversaw his rehabilitation at the Falcons.
“Werribee has been really good in that they’ve allowed me to have the same relationships I had during my first knee reconstruction, which is pretty important,” Augerinos said.
“Justin took me through my first one, and he understands me and my headspace and when I need to push myself and when I shouldn’t be.”
Werribee senior coach John Lamont said he was looking forward to Augerinos ultimately pushing his way back into the VFL ranks given his big impact across the first half of the year.
“I’m hoping Max can have a great summer, make his return to play with St Mary’s, and get back into the senior group as soon as he possibly can,” said Lamont.
“With the way he started the season, he was a definite success story. He found his own ball, made good decisions, and applied good pressure.
“He now gets the chance in the gym to whack in with the upper body stuff, so there’s a real positive element out of what was a very disappointing day for us, Max, and his family.”
Augerinos is the second player to be officially confirmed for Werribee’s 2018 playing list, with three-time Bruce Montgomery Trophy winner Matthew Hanson having been announced as the club’s first re-signing last week.