Sam Whatman returns to home club after UK experience
THE toughest 12 months of Sam Whatman's football career have steeled the teenager for a strong season with his home club.
The 19-year-old has returned from England, and last night was set to play his first game in about a year when his United Warriors took on Doon Villa.
"The experience was unreal," Whatman said. "Everything was football, football, football - there was no escape from it really.
"It's good to be back, seeing my friends and family again and being back with my friends at United."
It's been a long way back to the field for Whatman, who has had to overcome two ACL injuries in a year.
He initially left Hervey Bay to link with Aldershot Town, then spent time at West Ham United where he suffered his first injury.
"I reached out for ball and someone jumped over me and knocked my knee (sideways)," Whatman said.
"I was told it was bruising at first and to spend 10 days out. When 10 days passed I went off for a scan and it was an ACL.
"It wasn't enough for surgery but enough to keep me out longer.
"It didn't show any signs of being an ACL at first, but it probably got worse when I came back to training."
A move to Staines Town FC and reinjury meant the first chapter of his professional career suffered an early setback.
For Whatman, his initial plan is to play out the Wide Bay League season with United Warriors then see what opportunities come along.
"I could go back to Europe or play in Melbourne, I'm not sure," he said.
"I'm looking forward to (this season).
"I've heard a bit about each team and it should be the tightest competition in some time."