Sport

Jaw still troubling Barlow

By Lauren Bordin

Delisted Gold Coast midfielder Michael Barlow said he is still dealing with side effects from suffering a broken jaw in the North East Australian Football League this year.

The injury-prone Shepparton United product played just three AFL games this year but said there was remaining damage from surgery to correct the jaw.

‘‘I came out of surgery and I couldn’t blink my eye, kind of can’t close my eye up completely...there’s still some lingering effects,’’ Barlow said on Fox Footy.

‘‘That was a really tough period for me, six to eight-week period where I thought I’d miss a week.

‘‘And for six to eight weeks I could not literally close my right eye, so I’d have to tape it down for bed, which I’ve only kind of just had to stop doing, so it closes over.

‘‘You can run and you sit there as a professional athlete and want to play for as long as you can and this time it’s not my legs and my shoulder it’s my eye, my face.’’

Barlow still remained a presence at the club while recovering but said that brought its own challenges.

‘‘The first week, the conversation around it was hard because you had to explain yourself to everyone,’’ he said.

‘‘It was nearly comical because people were asking ‘can you blink your eye yet?’ and I’m like ‘I can’t’ but that’d bring laughter and I had humour about it as well, but in the back of my mind I was like ‘this is quite serious’.’’

Barlow also discussed his delisting from Gold Coast and the way it differed from when he was told the same news in a meeting at Fremantle in 2016.

‘‘So my first one was only three — Ross Lyon (Fremantle coach), Chris Bond (football operations manager) and me,’’ he said.

‘‘On reflection I probably really appreciate how they went about it, they kind of asked me how I felt and after the feedback I had some challenging conversations.

‘‘On the contrary (I) went to the Suns one and I had about eight people in the room and there wasn’t much, (they just said) ‘clearly we’re not going to go for you, we’re going to go a different direction’ and that was pretty much the end of it.

‘‘I would’ve liked from my point of view...some feedback.

‘‘I was pretty emotionally drawn out with the club and it was probably not worth being drawn out because there’s nothing to be gained, I just walked out.’’

But Barlow has not closed the door on joining a third AFL club to add to his 141 games.