Edgeworth Eagles midfielder Dylan Holz played more than 70 minutes with head wounds that cut the membrane on his skull and required 18 staples and 28 internal stitches on Sunday.
On Monday, he was back at work as a carpenter and keen to return to the pitch as soon as possible in the Northern NSW NPL.
The 23-year-old, a three-time premiership player at Edgeworth, was hit in the head with the studs of Broadmeadow forward Dino Fajkovic, who accidentally struck Holz with an attempted flick on behind his body in the 12th minute of their 0-0 draw at Jack McLaughlan Oval.
Holz left the field with blood flowing from his head but he returned in the 18th minute heavily bandaged and completed the round-14 top-of-the-table game.
He went to Wyong Hospital, where a doctor told him he was “mad” for going back on the field.
“I got 10 staples in one and eight in the other, and I ended up getting 20 internal stitches on the big one because it was right down to the skull,” Holz said. “And there were eight internal ones on the little one. The doctor said it cut the membrane on the skull. He could see my skull.
“I couldn’t tell how bad it was when I came off to get it strapped up, but the physio said it was pretty bad, but I wanted to go back on.
“I said to the doctor that I went back on, and he said I shouldn’t have.”
Holz helped the undermanned Eagles hold out leaders Magic to stay one point off the premiership pace with a game in hand.
Eagles coach Damian Zane was far from surprised by Holz’s determination.
“He is the biggest competitor I have ever come across,” Zane said. “Back in the day, it was tough, but he would have fit right in.”
Holz will have the staples removed in seven to 10 days and was unsure how long he would be sidelined.
“He reckons I should have a few weeks off, but I said I don’t really want to have a few weeks off,” Holz said.
“He said just see how you’re travelling, go see your GP and see what he reckons.”
Holz believed Fajkovic knew he was behind him “but it happened so quick and he probably didn’t expect me to try to head it”. No foul was called on the incident.
Zane said there was no intent in the clash but he believed it warranted at least a free kick for a high foot.
The nasty injury came in a incident-packed NPL round.
Weston president Rod Henderson said his club had sent an email to Northern NSW Football on Monday asking them to review an incident involving Lambton Jaffas defender Michael Sessions and Bears teenager Angus Lathan on Saturday.
Lathan left the field after Sessions stepped on his back and arm in a tangled challenge in the 62nd minute of the goalless draw at Weston. The Bears received a free kick but no card was issued.
Henderson said the Bears had asked NNSWF if they were satisfied that the referee acted appropriately.
On Sunday at Lisle Carr Oval, Charlestown captain Matt Tull was given a yellow card for an 86th-minute off-the-ball hit on Mitch Hunter in Lake Macquarie’s 3-0 win.
Three red cards were handed out in the 2-2 draw between Maitland and Adamstown. Maitland’s Chris Fayers was given a straight red for an elbow to the stomach of a defender before a free kick. Teammate Ryan Clarke was given a second yellow for a challenge and Adamstown goalkeeper Benn Kelly was shown a straight red for his actions in the ensuing melee.
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