Sam Docherty has done plenty to inspire the AFL community so far in his career.
Now the 29-year-old has added another chapter, playing the entire second half of Carlton’s semi-final victory over Melbourne after dislocating his left shoulder.
And Blues coach Michael Voss is adamant Docherty will be there next weekend when they meet Brisbane for a spot in the grand final.
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A brief half-time conversation between the pair settled any thoughts of substituting him out of Friday night’s win.
“Incredible. It sort of doesn’t surprise me with him,” Voss said in his post-match press conference.
“I spoke to him at half-time and said ‘what have you got?’ He said ‘I’ll give you everything I have got’.”
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The gruesome injury was on show for all to see. Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images
The coach conceded Docherty effectively played on because he could do no more serious damage than he had already done.
That hints at another bout of surgery in the off-season, an all-too-familiar headache for the fan favourite.
Docherty, who has survived two bouts of testicular cancer, underwent an operation to remove a benign tumour in December last year following a routine check-up.
He was back under the knife in April for a knee injury suffered early in the new season.
The defender returned to the side in a matter of weeks and has hardly missed a game since – so it’s easy to believe Voss when he says Docherty will play out their finals campaign.
“It seemed like it actually pulled up not too bad. You don’t put him out there if it’s not too much at risk,” the coach said.
“He was able to strap it up and get back out there and play.
“It certainly won’t feel right if we’re not forging ahead without him, that’s for sure.
“I’m sure he’ll get to work pretty hard on what that shoulder is and get himself right for next week.”
Voss catches up with Docherty after the full-time siren. Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images
Docherty confirmed he has never previously had issues with his left shoulder.
“No trouble with it before, and it’s good enough to get through the game,” he told Channel 7 commentator Brian Taylor in the winning rooms.
“So bit of ice, bit of recovery this week and we’ll see how I go.”
Docherty’s importance to Carlton’s cause was highlighted when he was the player pushing up the wing and throwing up both arms – like his left shoulder wasn’t even damaged – to mark over a scrambling Judd McVee.
A launch inside 50 found Blake Acres for the match-winning goal.
“That was pretty incredible by the boys,” Docherty said.
“Full credit to Melbourne tonight, they played a tough brand of footy and they make you earn it. Our last three or four games against them have been so close.
“Another thriller tonight. Bloody proud of the group, bloody proud of the footy club. A bit of a buzz in here tonight.”
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