Coolangatta QAFLW captain Emily Otto PIC: Lawrence Pinder
Coolangatta QAFLW captain Emily Otto PIC: Lawrence Pinder

Coolangatta captain makes QAFLW return after injury

WALKING around for three months with a fractured T12 vertebra and a trio of snapped ribs made it easy for Coolangatta QAFLW captain Emily Otto to find a silver lining where many of her teammates couldn't.

Earlier this year, Otto was set to play her first game since undergoing a spinal reconstruction due to a case of degenerative disc disease.

Just as her rehabilitation was nearing completion, the Bluebirds were due to play a practice match against the Burleigh Bombettes only for a deluge to roll across the Gold Coast and force Burleigh to withdraw from the clash.

Instead, the Bluebirds played an intra-club and as Otto bent down to swoop on a ground ball, she was caught by her ruckman in a case of friendly fire.

"It was ankle-deep water and we probably shouldn't have played but I remember coming off the field a bit teary telling the physio how much pain I was in but everyone said I was just overwhelmed and wasn't used to contact after so long out," Otto said.

"I knew something was wrong but I was still training and it wasn't until three and a half months later when I went to see my surgeon one year after my reconstruction, we did a full body scan and found out my injury.

"I missed the first three rounds of the season before COVID hit anyway but I would've missed the season if I didn't find out so there's a definite silver lining."

The 26-year-old return to football via Coolangatta's development side last month and impressed to regain senior selection on Saturday against Wilston Grange.

A week after a Leah Kaslar gifted the Bluebirds victory right before the buzzer, Coolangatta continued their winning streak with a 49-21 victory over Wilston Grange to elevate them into second place,

The victory marked a fitting farewell for the grandfather of Coolangatta stalwart Beth Pinchin who passed away this week.

Pinchin recently moved to Perth but returned to the Gold Coast to be with family in recent days and put in a best on ground performance in memory of her Pop.

The Pinchin family were all in attendance and were presented with flowers after the game.

"She had an absolutely cracking game," Otto said.

"I think it was the first game that saw us show off what we've been practising at training.

"The first few weeks (after the break) were about blowing out the cobwebs but it was the first game you could tell we had all gelled together and knew each others strengths and weaknesses."

Meanwhile, Bond University's QAFLW clash against Maroochydore was postponed due to a Bond player awaiting the result of a COVID-19 test.

It is hoped the clash will be rescheduled in the coming weeks.