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I just want to play: Ellis-Yolmen

Lee Gaskin, AFL Media  December 30, 2017 6:43 PM

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 6: Cam Ellis-Yolmen of the Crows in action during the Adelaide Crows training session at Football Park on December 6, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 6: Cam Ellis-Yolmen of the Crows in action during the Adelaide Crows training session at Football Park on December 6, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)

I just want to play round one, no matter if it's AFL or SANFL, I just want to play.

PROFESSIONAL sportspeople are notorious for talking in clichés, taking it "one game at a time" rather than looking at the big picture.

In the case of Adelaide midfielder Cam Ellis-Yolmen, you can understand his hesitation in predicting what might happen down the road.

This time in 2016, Ellis-Yolmen was flying.

He was arguably in the best shape of his career having gone to the US for an intense pre-season training camp, working with a renowned mixed martial arts fighter and giving himself every chance of becoming a regular in the Crows' on-ball brigade.

But less than 10 minutes into the first game of the 2017 JLT Community Series, his season was over.

The 24-year-old hyperextended his right knee against eventual premiers Richmond.

The initial diagnosis was that it wasn't too serious, but after feeling pain at a recovery swimming session the next day, scans revealed the worst – a ruptured ACL.

"I was pretty shattered, especially after the pre-season I had, I was in really good shape," Ellis-Yolmen told AFL.com.au.

"I had a two or three-week break away from the club and got my head around it, knowing I had to sit around doing rehab all year.

"I had a lot of people message me and call me and that got me through."

To stay involved, Ellis-Yolmen took on an assistant coaching role for the Crows' SANFL side, running messages to players during games and helping at training sessions.

"That was really good for my mental state, to stay involved with the team," he said.

"I don't want to do a knee, but you've got to find the positives and the stuff that will make you better as a footballer.

"I've been putting that into practice in training and hopefully it helps the way I play."

When the Crows' first-to-fourth-year players resumed training on November 20, Ellis-Yolmen was the loudest one on the field; barking instructions, encouraging and leading.

He wasn't even on the Crows' list at that stage, having been delisted at the end of the season before being selected in the rookie draft.

Ellis-Yolmen returned to full training in the lead-up to the Grand Final – about seven months after the injury.

🎟️🔫📺 #weflyasone

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"I've been confident on my knee and had no problems," he said.

He's completed every training session since and is ticking off the days until Adelaide's opening JLT Community Series game against Fremantle at Strathalbyn Oval on February 25.

"I just want to get my body right during pre-season and set myself up," he said.

"I just want to play round one, no matter if it's AFL or SANFL, I just want to play.

"My main goal is just to play footy again."

He's also been there for injured teammate Brodie Smith, who is set to miss all of the 2018 season after rupturing his ACL in the qualifying final win over Greater Western Sydney.

"Every time I get a chance to see him, I try to give him some good tips and making sure he's staying motivated and positive," Ellis-Yolmen said.

"It's a tough thing to do by yourself."