Star Fremantle midfielder David Mundy says he suffered "massive self doubt" for almost two thirds of the 2012 season as he struggled to shake off the physical and mental effects of the serious ankle injury he suffered in 2011.
The injury was syndesmosis, or a high ankle sprain to Americans, which sounds innocuous enough. But it derailed Mundy's 2012 pre-season, stopped him running at all before the NAB Cup and stalled self-belief for much of the year.
"I went through massive self doubt," he said yesterday. "I wasn't doing what I think I can and like to do out on the footy field.
"From round eight onwards my GPS and my numbers were up to the proper standard but internal belief didn't kick in until the Melbourne game in round 15 or 16.
"It was the first game where I felt really good. It was the first time that I pulled up really well and I also felt like I had contributed enough to the team to really be happy."
Syndesmosis is the popping of the ligament at the front of the ankle and the separation of the two main lower leg bones.
Mundy suffered the injury in round 12 of 2011 against Essendon, and aggravated it trying to return in round 22 against North Melbourne.
Given his time over he wouldn't have played that North game but he stressed it was his decision to play, convincing coaching and fitness staff he was fit because he genuinely believed he was.
The good news for Fremantle is the stark contrast with this year's build-up. Last year he missed it all, this year he has barely missed a beat.
"This time last year I wasn't even running," he said. "The club are really happy with where I am at this year and I am too."
Here's hoping Mundy will start 2013 as he finished 2012. He rattled home in the last seven games, averaging almost 27 possessions per game and kicking five goals. He had claims on best afield when the Dockers went down narrowly to Adelaide in a semifinal.
"2010 was my best year and I think it (the finish to 2012) was on a par with that," he said.
"It was only a five or six-week period and it is easier to peak and hold but I felt like I was going really well and the team was clicking.
"Round one is all that is in my mind at the moment. If I can tick that box I can then set more goals for the rest of the year."
Mundy will face one significant moment early in the season. He and wife Sally are expecting their first child in May.
It will be a significant life-change but life and football have already taught him about change.
Recruited as a full-back, he is now one of the AFL's leading midfielders.
"Everyone at the club is hungry for success, we haven't had much of it in our history," Mundy said.
"The sooner we can get to that end point the better."
·Fremantle have put no time frame on a return for Anthony Morabito, who had a LARS knee reconstruction in Sydney on Monday. Football manager Chris Bond said indications were that the surgery went well and Morabito was in good spirits.
The club are really happy with where I am at this year and I am too. " *David Mundy *