Mitchell: Lions will be 'massive'
Drew Mitchell may have spent more time on the treatment bench than on the pitch in the last two year, but the Wallaby wing is geared for a "massive" 2013.
Mitchell is desperate to face the British and Irish Lions next year, following an injury-ravaged two years.
Mitchell has been struck by a succession of blows – which started when he dislocated his ankle while on Waratahs duty against the Reds in April 2010.
It could have ended his Lions dream and even threatened to finish his career.
He returned to action from the first ankle injury at last year's World Cup but his tournament was cut short when he tore his hamstring against Russia.
And while recovering from that setback, scans revealed complications with a bone spur from his ankle injury which then ruptured a tendon.
Mitchell faced surgery and at least 12 months out of action but the injury miraculously resolved itself.
He made yet another long-awaited comeback in the Rugby Championship and followed it up with three further appearances on the Wallabies' recent European tour.
And after finally coming through his prolonged injury nightmare, the 28-year-old reckons facing the Lions in 2013 would be an unforgettable experience.
"Playing against the Lions would be massive for myself, or anyone else," said Mitchell.
"It comes around just once every 12 years. Some guys play 10 years for the Wallabies and don't get the opportunity to play them.
"The last couple of years have been pretty tough. It's been the toughest thing I've had to encounter in rugby.
"My lay-offs have fluctuated a number of times from a few weeks, to a few months, a year, to you're ready to play again and you play next week.
"It's been one of those rollercoaster rides where every other week I had a different opinion and it was difficult to know where you're at.
"But to get back to train, play fully and get selected on the year-end tour was great. From where I was a couple of months ago and being told I wouldn't play again, to being back in the Wallaby environment, just shows how quickly things can change.
"The whole period has made me realise the importance that any game could be your last. It's put me in the mindset to make the most out of every opportunity.
"We're in a really privileged position to be able to wear this jersey. The time you wear the Gold and Green is very short so it's important to make the most of it."