No round one return for Freo's Palmer - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No round one return for Freo's Palmer

By Justin Chadwick 18/03/2010 06:59:33 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle midfielder Rhys Palmer will make his long-awaited return to competitive action this weekend but admits it's too risky for him to play round one of the AFL season.

Palmer, whose 2009 campaign was ruined when he ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in round five, will play half a game for East Fremantle's reserves side against Perth on Saturday.

But the 20-year-old ruled out a Dockers return for their round one clash with Adelaide and said a round two berth may also be beyond him.

"I'd love to be back round two after playing one reserves and one league game but it might take longer than that, we'll just wait and see," Palmer said on Thursday.

"I think it's going to take a few more steps before I can just jump back into the side."

Palmer was confident his reconstructed knee would hold up to the rigours of competitive football.

"I'm feeling good and really confident in the knee and the body so I think I'm ready to go," he said.

"I've had a few little other issues with my calf and shin soreness but the knee's been fine.

"I've had about five weeks of training solidly and it's been pulling up good.

"I'm not really nervous to tell you the truth, just more excited about getting out there.

"I spoke to Haze (Paul Hasleby) and he said it took him a few games to get back into it (after his knee reconstruction) but I'm confident and to get a few kicks would be nice."

Palmer was far from lonely during his lengthy stint on the sidelines, with Ryan Crowley (fractured foot), Michael Johnson (ankle), Roger Hayden (leg), Des Headland (hamstring) and Chris Mayne (foot) joining him in rehabilitation.

Crowley backed Palmer, who won the AFL's Rising Star award in his debut year of 2008, to return to his prolific best.

"I love Rhys, he's one of my good mates and he just knows how to find the footy," Crowley said.

"He's a bit of a general already and he's only 20.

"He's just a really smart kid ... he'll be fine."

Palmer said he had deliberately bulked up in the gym in a bid to match some of the bigger-bodied midfielders of the competition.

And Fremantle skills coach Michael Prior has also been working with Palmer in a bid to improve the midfielder's wayward kicking.

"The great thing about not being so good in that department is I'm still young in my career and I've got a lot of time to fix that," Palmer said.

"We've got extra kicking after each session and I think I've gotten on top of that.

"Hopefully I can emulate that in the game."

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