Launceston footballer Alex Payne has suffered the heartbreak of tearing his anterior cruciate ligament for the third time on the cusp of the 2017 State League season.
The 22-year-old has already endured two reconstructions on his left knee and tragically snapped the ACL in his right knee in a practice match against Devonport two weeks ago.
"It's a bit of a difficult situation - it's my other knee this time and all the events don't quite add up but it is what it is," Payne said.
Payne said the incident where he injured the knee was innocuous and he had no idea at the time that he had seriously injured his knee.
"I was just in a collision through a tackling situation with Beau Sharman and there was nothing to it," he said.
"I got an elbow at the same time and went down and actually didn't even feel my knee during the incident but when I had scans on the Wednesday and it actually came through as an ACL which I wasn't expecting.
"My elbow was actually more sore than my knee and it terms of the other times it was very different.
"I had been cleared by my doctor structurally but I had the scan just to be sure and got a phone call at twenty past seven on Thursday morning telling me that is was an ACL."
Payne injured his knee the first time as a 17-year-old playing for the Blues and the second time was when he was 19, playing for Drysdale Tigers in the Geelong Football League in 2014.
Payne had just finished university studies and was keen to get back to Launceston and play TSL football this season.
"I did all the pre-season and actually played pretty well against Devonport and I was feeling as good as I'd ever felt - and now it has all been put on hold really," he said.
Payne said he will see a surgeon soon to discuss his options but was not considering calling quits to his football career.
"I have nothing to lose so I will have a conversation about surgery and doing another rehabilitation and to be honest will explore all the options.’’
Payne said he had talked to Geelong star Daniel Menzel who has undergone four knee reconstructions for some inspiration to keep going with his football.
"I said to him that I did one more I would be on a level playing field with him.
""There is still a fire in my belly and I want to be known as a Launceston Football Club player rather than someone who has done three knees."