On Friday night, Western Bulldogs midfielder Toby McLean successfully completed a remarkable comeback from an ACL injury.

McLean was a late inclusion to the side against Geelong, playing his first game in since round 17, 2020 after sustaining the injury to his right knee last September.

The 25-year-old emerged unscathed in his return to the action, registering 21 disposals, five marks and three clearances from 71% time on ground.

He also dribbled through a late goal, to give the Bulldogs a one-point advantage in the dying minutes before Geelong’s after-the-siren sealer.

“It’s obviously been a long time – 10 months feels like forever,” McLean told westernbulldogs.com.au post-match.

“To play my first game back, in the AFL side as well, I’m just really happy to get through unscathed.

“I was available about three weeks ago, but obviously COVID-19 (and lockdown) had other plans, so I just trained for three weeks just like the other VFL boys.

“I think my confidence over those three weeks really built – I sort of felt at home tonight.”


McLean said he believes the five-point loss will teach the group plenty heading into the back-half of the year.

“Geelong are a really good side – we showed what we’re capable of, and I think it will hold us in good stead for the rest of the year anyway even though we did have a loss,” he said.

“It was back and forth a bit in that last three minutes. Those down-the-line sort of plays – we couldn’t really find any marks and lock it down in our forward line as much as we wanted to.

“(Geelong) were able to go coast-to-coast, and it was a pretty good shot on goal but pretty disappointing.”

The Bulldogs will now look ahead to next Sunday’s clash against West Coast at Optus Stadium.