Western Bulldogs recruit Jedd Busslinger says he has nearly overcome a lingering shoulder issue that ended his WAFL colts and state underage campaigns last year.
The Bulldogs took Busslinger out of East Perth with the 13th pick of last year’s AFL draft, despite the Busselton product having played no football since July due to a shoulder reconstruction.
The 18 year old said the club was taking a long term approach to dealing with the injury.
“I’m still in the rehab stages at the moment, I’m just coming back into some full training sessions in the last couple of weeks, which has been really exciting,” Busslinger told Sports Breakfast.
“There’s a fair bit of strength in it now, I’m just looking to get a bit more power and play in some games pretty soon.
“I’m hoping [for] the early rounds of the VFL. I’m just starting to do some match sim at training with the boys, so hopefully in the early rounds of the VFL I’ll be ready to go.”
The Bulldogs are well stocked for key position talent, with Alex Keath, Liam Jones, and Ryan Gardiner manning defensive posts to go with Aaron Naughton and Rory Lobb up front, with Sam Darcy and Josh Bruce set to be used at both ends of the ground.
Busslinger said learning from some outstanding players in his position was exciting.
“[Preseason’s] been pretty solid, really hard at training but I’m loving every second of it. It’s probably what I thought it was going to be, extremely challenging but it’s also a lot of fun,” he said.
“I’m loving every day that I’m here and I feel like I’m always getting better every day I come in, we’ve got some really good coaches and players that are helping me out a fair bit.
“I’d love to play this year and that’ll be a real goal of mine to crack into the AFL team, but at the same time, if that doesn’t happen I’m extremely happy learning from the other key defenders in the team, and when my time comes, hopefully I’ll be ready to go and can hold a spot down there.”
Moving to Whitten Oval was a case of coming full circle for Busslinger, who was presented with his 2012 Auskicker of the year award by Bulldogs legend Luke Darcy.
“It’s pretty funny how it’s all happened, from being in the Auskick competition and Luke of course at the Bulldogs, and now to be playing alongside his son, who I’m pretty good mates with, at the club,” he said.
“It’s funny how it’s all worked out but no complaints.”
The Bulldogs will begin their season with a Saturday night clash against Melbourne at the MCG, with Busslinger’s chance to play in Perth coming on April the 21st against Fremantle.