Cleary aims to improve by degrees

Launceston's Tom Cleary hopes he has kicked off injury woes after playing his first game in seven weeks last week when the Blues downed Devonport. Picture: MARK JESSER

Launceston's Tom Cleary hopes he has kicked off injury woes after playing his first game in seven weeks last week when the Blues downed Devonport. Picture: MARK JESSER

LAUNCESTON defender Tom Cleary is hoping to rediscover his best form after the frustration of an injury- interrupted season.

The 21-year-old bachelor of education student had his first game back against Devonport last week after missing seven weeks with an ankle injury.

Originally from New Norfolk, Cleary joined the Blues when he moved to Launceston for university study in 2012 after playing all his previous football with the Eagles in the SFL.

He was part of the senior premiership in 2010 with New Norfolk and won the Hodgman Medal for the best young player.

But a desire to take his footy to the highest level saw him try out for State League with Glenorchy before a bout of glandular fever derailed his 2011 season.

After joining the Blues the following year, Cleary played four or five senior games but found it hard to break into senior ranks permanently.

"This year I decided to have a red- hot crack and started my preseason around October," he said.

"I was keen to have a really good season because I had shown glimpses that I could play at senior level but had not had a break-out game yet.

"I was just getting some games under my belt and my fitness was almost at the level where you are running on top of the ground and getting plenty of the ball when I badly rolled my ankle at training one night.

"I went to hospital because I thought I'd broken it but found out it was badly strained - but it took longer to heal than if I had broken it, which was pretty frustrating."

Cleary said he was enjoying his role in defence for the Blues, learning the game a lot more and trying to be attacking at the same time.

"I just want to make the most of the rest of the season and as a club we had an awesome win last weekend and we want to continue that."

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