“WE’LL keep moving forward.”

Sam Docherty heard all the well wishes coming his way from not only the Carlton community, but the wider football world following his injury in Opening Round.

He also acknowledges there were some talk that after everything he’s been through during his career, maybe he’d be well within his rights to call time on his 12—year career. 

Not on his watch.

It was on the Saturday evening after Carlton’s stirring comeback victory over Brisbane that the souring news came through. Along with meniscus damage, Docherty had torn the ACL in his right knee — the opposite knee to the one which ruled out two years of his career in 2018 and 2019.


But speaking on AFL360, Docherty - as driven as ever - said the thought of retirement had never crossed his mind, but rather, his eyes were firmly set on getting back.

“No, I’m too stubborn. There’s something in my make-up that I do want to finish my career on my own terms and in my own way. That time is not now,” Docherty said.

“I’ve had my fair share of bad moments in AFL footy, but I still love the game and still feel I can play at a high level when I’m out there . . . I want to be able to walk away from the game being comfortable with what I’ve done, and not having an injury or illness be the reason why.

“There’s been plenty of times in my career that I probably could’ve pulled up stumps, but something that drives me to be able to leave AFL footy - whenever it is - with my own head high is a decision I’m really comfortable with.”

It’s not to see there weren’t some testing, trying times after he received the news. Driving home the next day, Docherty received the phone call from the Club doctor after the Blues had returned from Brisbane — but Docherty admits he had “a little gut feeling” that Saturday morning that something was up.

“On the night, I had no idea. We thought it was a meniscus, it was presenting as a meniscus — I ended up having meniscus damage as well, which explains why I was feeling that way.

“I had some weird moments when flying back, it didn’t really feel stable when I was flying home. I rang the doctor as soon as he got off the plane, I was already anxious enough because I was getting these feelings.”


But just as he’s done all throughout his career, Docherty isn’t getting angry at the world. He isn’t finger pointing, he isn’t feeling sorry for himself — he’s just looking forward.

As he put it, you can only deal with the cards you’re dealt.

“There’s a lot of ‘why me, why this, why us again’ mentality. But you can’t control any of that stuff, it is what it is. 

“Mentally and physically, I’m going reasonably well at the moment. There were some testing times over the first four or five weeks definitely, but I’m in a good spot.

“I love footy, I love playing and I still feel like I’ve got a lot to offer the footy club.”