In 2018 Connor Owen-Auburn left his Western Sydney home to chase a fresh start in the Nation’s Capital having endured an injury ridden 2017 season.
A member of the GWS GIANTS Academy since 2013, the St Clair junior was a member of the GIANTS’ NEAFL premiership team in 2016 against the Sydney Swans.
Owen-Auburn was selected in the GIANTS’ U19 Academy squad in 2017 and also lined up in the AFL Academy Series as an overage player.
But his promising 2017 season came to an abrupt halt in Round 3 against Canberra when Owen-Auburn fractured a bone in his foot, sidelining the young gun for over a year.
The 20-year-old then signed with Canberra in the off-season of 2017, joining the club to continue his rehabilitation program ahead of a possible return to the NEAFL in 2018.
"I’d be lying if I didn’t say it wasn’t a hard time early on in the year," he said.
"Training away from the main group prohibited me from making some of those special bonds within the team. There’s something about those gruelling running sessions that brings players closer."
"When you can get through them together knowing that the blokes around you are suffering just as much as you are, it makes it that little bit easier."
"There were times where I definitely did question myself but I really did trust the plan the medical staff wanted to follow and because of that I’ve become physically and mentally stronger."
After a series of unfortunate setback's during his rehabilitation, Owen-Auburn didn't make his Canberra debut until Round 10.
Looking to put his injury woes behind him Owen-Auburn went on to play 11 games in 2018 and says he will look to use the 2019 season as an avenue to repay the faith the club showed in him.
“I’m really grateful that the club has shown confidence in my ability to bounce back from the injury. The medical team at the club have really gone above and beyond not only to get me back on the park but to keep me from falling apart in the 11 games I played this year, which was realistically a lot more than I’d hoped to play.”
"I've never been more excited for a pre season, I’m making sure that I capitalise on every session so that I can have a influence through the midfield in season 2019. There’s no doubt that after the success we experienced this season that we are all that much hungrier to take it all the way next year. "