Canadian star Kendra Heil to miss inaugural AFLW season

It’s the news nobody wants to read, but another star female footballer has succumb to a serious knee injury and will miss the inaugural AFL Women’s season.

The Collingwood Football Club confirmed that their Canadian-born recruit Kendra Heil ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament in the left knee during training last Wednesday.

Kendra Heil laying a trademark crunching tackle during the 2014 International Cup.
Image: AFL Media

Heil had missed the 2016 VFL Women’s season with the same injury in the right knee, as she wrote in a column for Girls Play Footy in April, but until last week had looked to be on track to run out for the Magpies in their first AFL Women’s season.

The knee injury to the one of the most popular women’s footballers in Victoria means she will most likely miss out on playing in August’s International Cup for Canada on top of the 2017 VFL Women’s season.

Eastern Devils teammate and Collingwood AFLW operations manager, Meg Hutchins, told the club’s website that the Magpies will assist Heil in her recovery and will have an off-field role for her to play during the AFLW season.

“The club will support Kendra throughout her recovery, and knowing her hard-working attitude towards her training, I’m sure she’ll be extremely diligent with her rehab,” said Hutchins.

“While we would have loved to see her on the ground, Kendra still has a lot to offer and will play an important part of Collingwood’s inaugural AFLW season off the ground.”

Heil is the third high profile AFLW recruit to suffer a major knee injury before the first season, with the Fremantle Dockers’ Kiara Bowers and GWS Giants’ Renee Forth each suffering a similar injury during a WAWFL Semi-Final.

The Magpies have approached the AFL about a replacement player, with Karly Tapner (Melbourne University) and Alex Quigley (VU Western Spurs) seen as possibilities to fill the now vacated half-forward flank role.

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