TESSA Curtain is ready to make her long awaited return from a serious knee injury after more than a year on the sidelines.
The Ballarat Lady Devil will line-up for the reserves side against North Geelong Warriors in round seven of Football Federation Victoria's women's state league 1 division on Sunday.
Her last match was in round three of the 2013 season, where she ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament less than 20 minutes into the game against the University of Melbourne.
Thirteen and a half months and a traditional hamstring graft later, Curtain says she is "excited but nervous" ahead of Sunday's match.
The central midfielder has been running for five months and passed her return to sports test in May with flying colours.
However, the recovery process hasn't been without its setbacks.
"I was hoping to get back a little bit earlier but the joint flared up in training and my surgeon recommended waiting until the 12 month mark," Curtain said.
"I've been hanging out for it (the return), I've been in full training for four weeks and in non-contact training a month prior to that."
The 22-year-old used coaching to help get through the pain of looking from afar at the Lady Devils' successful campaign last year.
She will now hand the reins of the development side to injured senior captain Holly Williamson.
"I enjoy the coaching side of soccer and I really appreciated being able to do it," Curtain said.
"Having that role really helped me keep my head up, particularly at the start."
For now, Curtain is setting her sights on getting through her first match unscathed before pushing for senior selection.
"It's a very young squad in development, I'll be the oldest by five years," she said.