Sydney captain’s heartbreaking words on the toll of her ACL injury: ‘It’s so s***’

Sydney FC captain Nat Tobin has lifted the lid on her physical and mental toll of her season-ending injury.

Tobin is sidelined for the 2023-24 Liberty A-League campaign after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the opening-round win over Western Sydney on October 14.

Five rounds have since passed as the Sydney star continues to rehabilitate and it has not been easy for the 27-year-old defender.

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“I’m finding it really tough. The (team) went away to Uzbekistan (for the AFC Women’s Club Championship) for almost two weeks. I didn’t go but I found it easier going in doing my rehab then because I wasn’t seeing other people playing,” she told The Australian.

“It made it a bit easier. Now they are back. The first session they came back I was in the gym and I was in a foul mood, it’s just so s***.

“I don’t want to watch people being able to run around and here is me just in the gym constantly.

“I think people don’t really talk about how difficult it is, the mental side, not just the physical side of it.

“To just have everything ripped away from you in a split second, it’s just so cruel.”

The 2023-24 season had promised so much after Tobin – who underwent surgery a month ago – played a key role in Sydney winning the Premiership-Championship double last term.

But her campaign was heartbreakingly cut short just 10 minutes into the second half of Sydney’s matchup against cross-town rivals Western Sydney in Round 1.

She had to be carried from the Allianz Stadium field on a stretcher.

“I didn’t know straight away, I initially thought I just dislocated my knee,” Tobin said. “I’ve never done an ACL before.

“When I came off, the doctors said potential meniscus because I was testing quite well on the ACL test.

“My brother had done his meniscus before so I thought that would be a good outcome. But I knew the next day that it was going to be an ACL because it was just all swollen and sore and unstable.”

Tobin added: “I just felt very low. I was feeling really fit and really good within myself, so to have that all taken away was quite devastating.”

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“I had a fat pad impingement in my knee from the previous season so I’d had a cortisone injection,” Tobin continued. “My knee was already quite sore but it was feeling good during pre-season so I wondered if that contributed.

“I had also been overseas on holidays to Europe and when I came back my period got out of sync from my normal cycle with the time difference so it was all over the place. They say that can contribute.

“I also hadn’t been to the gym as much because I had been busy at work that week. So was it that?

“He (the surgeon) told me not to spend too much time mulling over what it was that caused it because there are so many contributing factors.”

During the international break, defending champions Sydney are ninth in the standings – four points outside the top four with two games in hand.