TWELVE months ago, former Milton-Ulladulla Bulldog Lauren Murty had just suffered the biggest injury of her career - a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Little did she know, she was heading into her toughest year to date - both physically and mentally.
"I did my ACL in November 2017 playing for rugby for NSW and underwent surgery two weeks later," Murty said.
"I had know idea how sever the injury was until I had to experience it.
"I then started my rehabilitation with physiotherapist three times a week - I literally had to teach myself to walk again.
"At exactly three months, I started running straight lines and then after four months, I started my change direction.
"From the six to eight month mark, I was feeling normal again and I could go back to normal things, such as training with my footy team.
"Nine months had passed and I had my last check up with the surgeon and he was very pleased with my progress, so much so he cleared me to go back to sport providing I passed the 12-month test with my physiotherapist.
"At 10 months, I did my 12-month test and I passed with flying colours.
"Then on 12 months to the day of my injury, I finally returned to playing."
Since returning, Murty has played at the Blue Mountain Sevens, Women's Oztag World Cup and Oztag nationals, with her Cronulla side.
"I can’t even describe the feeling [of returning to playing] - it was honestly the best, being back out there doing what I love," Murty said.
Fast forward to now and the 21-year-old is preparing for her first international rugby union tournament with her Southern Districts Rebelettes, when they travel to Malaysia to compete in the Borneo Sevens from March 23-24.
"Our club was invited by the tournament committee off the back of a successful 2018 season in Australia," Murty said.
"We immediately jumped at the chance to play, as we will become the first ever Australian club side to do so."
Heading into next month's tournament, Murty and her team, which also contains Olivia White, Maddison Anderson, Brittney Vanderhart, Katalina Amosa, Libby Holloway, Tiarne Cavanagh, Jennifer Fotheringham, Olivia Brooks, Claudia McLaren, Emma Wade, Claire Woolmington, Kieran Berry and Grace Cooper, have high expectations.
"Personally, my main expectations is to get through the tournament injury free, as this will be only my second rugby tournament I have played in close to 18 months," she said.
"My fitness is not where I would like it to be at but after every game, I feel like it is getting better.
"From a team perspective, we want to give each and every game our best effort and prove to everyone that we were worthy of our invitation to the tournament."
If you'd like to help Murty and her Rebellettes get to Borneo, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/send-southen-districts-rebelettes-to-borneo?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=fb_dn_cpgnsharebartop_r&fbclid=IwAR1bZ7w6aDA6D8PgIwH6HQix_HE4gaPnXtKl_Pi2KnH5DDbMDegE53F5ZfU