Will Walker has made his long-awaited return to full training, completing his first session in almost 18 months.
The forward/midfielder first injured himself against Adelaide in Round 22, 2018, with an awkward landing resulting in a hyper-extension of his left knee, a partial PCL tear, a depression fracture of the tibia and a joint capsule tear.
Upon his initial return he developed a serious stress reaction on his tibia, with the North medical staff deciding to take a more cautious approach with his recovery.
The return to training has been a long time coming for the man himself.
“I’ve had a few big sessions ticking all the boxes and doing the things I need to do … and luckily I got through really well,” Walker told North Media.
“The sports and conditioning staff set you up really well for what you’re prepared to do in training and then into games… I got through it fine and hopefully it’s onto the next one.”
The backing of the playing group has been paramount to Walker, with their support during his recovery making his return all the more special.
“They knew it was my first session back so every two seconds I was getting a pat on the head, a pat on the back and a well done,” he said.
“I was running around like a bit of a headless chook at one point… but the boys were really supportive.
“You do have some bad days and some dark times but there are other people who are going through worse things than I am … you train with a few of the boys who are in a similar position and you get through it a lot more easily than by yourself.”
With a big step in his recovery out the way, Walker is bullish on his prospects of getting some games under his belt as soon as possible.
“I want to push the guys as hard as I can to get me in as soon as I can,” he added.
“There’s a few VFL practice matches coming up so hopefully I can sneak into contention for AFL selection as soon as possible.”