Unfortunately for Curnow, he became a spectator for the Blues’ rise from the doldrums after a series of injuries ruined his season and ended a 74-game streak.
He missed the early rounds with a medial ligament strain, followed by a setback to his calf in practice in May, then a hamstring injury early in a VFL game in July that ended his year.
By his own admission, the 200-gamer did little for the Blues cause over the past year as life in perpetual rehab wore him down.
“I didn’t put much stock in the club last year either, I was struggling a bit with injuries and wasn’t getting any energy from the rehab program, probably a little depressed joint, a little grumpy,” Curnow said.
“I wasn’t the best person there was last year and I’m not proud of that either. Those who are hurt deal with it all the time. You get appreciation for guys who are injured in a top sport environment and can’t do what they want to do. You feel devalued because you can’t do your job.
“The feelings I felt were all stories in my head. The football club did their best to support me. It’s only when you’re not playing with the team at the weekend that you’re not so involved in the program, you feel far removed from the game day and what’s going on – the wins and the losses. I just craved that game day challenge, coming to practice and the plan to go out and compete. I missed that.”
His personal agony came amid a time of great excitement for the Blues, who appeared destined for much of the season to end their finals drought, and for his brother. Charlie was one of the feel-good stories of 2022, coming back after two years of struggling with knee injuries to establish himself as one of the competition’s best forwards.
The stars were rarely right for the brothers, who have only played together in 53 out of a possible 149 games.
“It was great,” Curnow said as he watched his younger brother get his best back. “I have young children who love to see Charlie play. He’s such a fun-loving personality. you love charlie His history is truly amazing, having had so many knee surgeries that not many other athletes have had, and he was told it would be unlikely he would be the same player, let alone a Coleman medalist.
“It was pretty awesome to go with mom and dad and watch him bag six and seven and light up the whole stadium and the crowd.
“It was frustrating at first, I wanted to play a little bit more football with him. We didn’t play a lot of football together. I’ve had a pretty solid run of consistent football at the same time he’s been struggling with his knee injuries.
“Now he’s taken care of it and I’ve decided to get all these soft tissue injuries,” Curnow added with a laugh.
Curnow was concerned his time as a footballer had come – but the Blues were willing to look beyond his morose and ailing body to the qualities that made him a lifelong member – his professionalism, the standards he follows, and offered him a rookie spot.
As the only player over 30 on the Blues roster at the time of writing, Curnow also brings experience to what is still a young group.
A pillar of Blues midfield throughout his career, Curnow faces a battle to break into the Blues’ top 23, but early signs for the pre-season are promising. The injuries that plagued him in a miserable 2022 have failed to materialize.
“I still really want to play and [am] hungry to compete,” Curnow said. “I love competing against my teammates, love to train, it wasn’t like I was mentally ready to continue.
“Mentally I was very, very keen to be part of the program again. It was about whether I could physically prove that I was up to it. I’m trying to prove that to myself and the team at the moment. I’m really enjoying being normal, training hard and enjoying the preseason grind.”″
The next task is to convince Voss that he still has a role to play in the senior team. The Blues have a vastly different looking midfield than last time Curnow played, although Sam Walsh’s injury creates an opening.
“I’m here to make your life difficult with this decision,” Curnow said. “I’m going to try to be the best I can, the best teammate I can and see where that goes.”
https://www.smh.com.au/sport/afl/be-a-contender-curnow-driven-by-playing-with-charlie-and-flag-push-20221222-p5c89k.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport Ed Curnow drove through Playing with Brother Charlie and Flag Boost