Rulla Kelly-Mansell freely admits entering his last State League clash after a week off still under a serious injury cloud just two days out.
The Launceston forward did play albeit wearing a precautionary glove to protect six stitches after splitting his webbing on his left hand.
“I was in doubt,” he said.
“We didn’t confirm until Thursday night I’d play.
“I didn’t train all week – I ran, but didn’t do any ball work. I tested it our Thursday night with a glove and got through it good and decided.”
The end result went from nearly sidelined to kicking a lazy seven goals over Burnie.
But possibly, 10 or 12 even.
Kelly-Mansell appeared on target after five of his first six shots, but missed six of his next eight to finish with 7.7 from the side’s 24.18.
“I think I have played with a little bit of discomfort for the last couple of years, just quietly,” he joked of any lingering effects of the injury.
“I’ve had a few things going wrong in my body, but it all held up pretty well.
“It actually wasn’t until the last two minutes as the game went on I had discomfort.”
But any inaccuracy aside, the game still earned the 24-year-old three TSL Player-of-the-Year votes in the Blues’ 119-point win over Burnie.
Kelly-Mansell had sought out teammate Sonny Whiting for improvement and paid tribute to the stalwart full forward’s 2017 influence on his marking and ball drop.
“I was actually marking pretty well in the game (against Burnie) and it may have all worked the other way for me. So I don’t read too much into it all,” he said.
“The ball drop on the day was a little bit harder because I am left-handed and it was my left hand.
“But you go out, play a game of footy and it doesn’t matter about injuries.”
After pulling in consecutive best-on-ground games, the 2013 South Launceston TSL premiership player concedes this season is his best-ever yet.
“This year I have been more consistent and it just comes from another year of playing football,” he said.
“I feel a bit more composed and wiser upstairs, which is showing in my football.”
TSL PLAYER VOTES
Burnie v Launceston
- 3 Rulla Kelly-Mansell (Ltn)
- 2 Brodie Palfreyman (Ltn)
- 1 Jay Blackberry (Ltn)
Hobart City v North L’ton
- 3 Tom Couch (NL)
- 2 Taylor Whitford (NL)
- 1 Jay Lockhart (NL)
Tigers v Clarence
- 3 Jason Bailey (Clar)
- 2 Brady Jones (Clar)
- 1 Zac Buechner (Clar)
Devonport v Glenorchy
- 3 Jaye Bowden (Glen)
- 2 Cameron Duffy (Glen)
- 1 Beau Sharman (Dev)
- 12 Tom Couch (NL)
- 12 Jaye Bowden (Glen)
- 10 Rulla Kelly-Mansell (Lt)
- 9 Zac Burt (NL)
- 9 Jay Blackberry (Ltn)
- 8 Dylan Fyfe (Laud)
- 8 Ryan Matthews (HC)
- 8 Brodie Palfreyman (Ltn)