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Byrne's return a success

VFL Highlights | Round 8 Watch the highlights from Carlton listed players in the Northern Blues' Round 8 win over Coburg.

Ciaran Byrne made a successful return from injury for the Northern Blues today.

Playing his first game in nearly a year, Byrne got through three quarters of game-time in Northern’s sixth consecutive VFL win.

It was a much-anticipated return for the Irishman, who played his last game some 11 months ago against Collingwood at the MCG.

Byrne was understandably delighted about his return to action and the Blues’ triumph by nine points over Coburg.

“It’s obviously been a long time — it was good to get out there with the boys. There’s been a lot of hard work,” Byrne said.

“The knee is 100 percent: I didn’t think about it at all during the game.

“There were definitely nerves: I couldn’t sleep last night. I felt comfortable out there. It’s great to be back.”

He collected 13 disposals and showed his customary dash off half-back, and was well-complemented by Ciaran Sheehan: it was the first time the two have played in the same team since 2014.

Byrne said his long road to recovery was a tiresome one, but knows there is still plenty of hard work to come in the coming weeks.

Post-match, Byrne credited his “outstanding” teammates and said he’d continue to grow in belief in the coming weeks.

“I haven’t thought about being in the AFL team yet, it was more head down, bum up and working really hard to be back,” Byrne said.

“It’s been 11 months so to get confidence back, get strong and get fit (was important). I felt buggered at the end of the game.”