After 701 days out of the AFL, defender Sam Wright will make his return to the North Melbourne line-up this Saturday.

Wright has endured a horror-run with injuries since he injured his ankle against the Bulldogs in Round 6, 2016, and his return is a testament to his perseverance.

The popular defender underwent surgery on both ankles at the end of 2016, and it looked as though he had overcome his issues when he was able to take part in a JLT game against Greater Western Sydney in March of 2017.

However, just prior to his return to the fold in April of 2017, the defender suffered a “low-level stress reaction” in his foot, sidelining him for a further eight weeks.

When fit, Wright is a key pillar in defence and he played a vital role in the Roos' finals campaigns in 2014 and 2015. 

Determined to make his return to the highest level, Wright has exhausted every possible avenue to overcome his issues, finding support for his in a seemingly unlikely place, the Australian Ballet Company.

The return of Sam Wright to the fold will be savoured by the players, coaches and fans alike.

The long road back

- Round 6, 2016 – Injures right ankle – misses three games.
- Round 11, 2016 - Sprains left ankle – surgery.
- Round 19, 2016 – Return via VFL. Sore. Last game for year.
- September, 2016 – Surgery on left ankle. Clean-up.
- December, 2016 – Surgery on right ankle.
- JLT Series, 2017 - Return. Plays one further VFL practice match.
- April, 2017 – Suffers foot injury – misses eight weeks.
- Round 10, 2017 – Return via VFL. Three games.
- August, 2017 – Season over. Further ankle surgery.
- November, 2017 - Ballet to assist with recovery.
- January, 2018 – Return to main training.
- March/April, 2018 – Return for VFL practice match & start of season.
- Round 7, 2018 – First AFL game in 701 days.