Resilient Rohan hungry for flag
Photo Source: AAP
There are a couple of moments in Gary Rohan's AFL career he'll be happy never to re-live.
The first, unsurprisingly, is the sickening leg injury suffered in 2012 that to this day remains a source of on-field anxiety.
But equally torturous for the Sydney forward is the Swans' 2014 grand-final loss.
That 63-point mauling by Hawthorn was supposed to be his time, the chance so cruelly denied two years earlier by the compound fracture that forced him to watch from the sidelines as his team won the premiership.
"I remember the first bounce, then Hawthorn came out and hit us hard," Rohan recalled.
"Watching them getting their medals really hurt.
"Then I was in the rooms with the family.
"It was a very dark time.
"I don't want this feeling again so I'll be making the most of it not have that feeling again."
Ten days ago he felt sure that dark place would swallow him back up when an injury scare against Adelaide threatened to yank another shot at that elusive flag out from under his feet.
Rohan was stretchered from the SCG with a knee injury to the same leg he broke, convinced this season - and probably the next - was over.
But the 25-year-old was cleared of structural damage and made a remarkable recovery to play in last weekend's preliminary-final win over Geelong.
"I thought I did something serious," he said.
"I was devastated and shattered that I might miss out for the rest of the season.
"A lot of it comes from upstairs. I've got to stop thinking the worst straight away, but from that leg in 2012 it's pretty hard not to.
"As soon as I got the (scan) result I was happy, then I had a couple of sleepless nights icing up before training on Wednesday."
Now, four quarters away from a premiership, Rohan will line up against the Western Bulldogs at the MCG on Saturday.
He acknowledges the heartbreak of 2014 was not entirely wasted as he took from it valuable lessons about controlling pre-game emotions.
And he'll do whatever it takes to ensure that this time, when he hugs his family afterwards, he'll have a medal draped around his neck.
"Personally it would mean a lot, not just for me but for my family as well with what I've been through," he said.
"They've been with me from when I got drafted and also the down days of my broken leg and all my injuries.
"So hopefully we come up with a win and pay them back for all the support."