Wonaeamirri set to return after tough year - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wonaeamirri set to return after tough year

John Salvado 15/08/2011 03:13:58 PM Comments (0)

After enduring the toughest year of his life, Melbourne forward Austin Wonaeamirri is looking ahead with renewed confidence.

Wonaeamirri is expected to return for the Demons' VFL affiliate Casey this weekend for the first time since being granted a long leave of absence to return to the Tiwi Islands following the death of his father Matthew in May.

And Wonaeamirri hasn't completely ruled out the possibility of making a return to AFL action this year if the 11th-placed Demons can win their last three games and secure an unlikely finals berth.

"I have had a tough year, with dad passing away, that really got to me mentally," Wonaeamirri told AAP on Monday.

"But I'm glad I went home to connect again with the family and the sorry business.

"Now I'm back training with the boys, doing what I love doing.

"If everything goes right, touch wood I'll play in the VFL this weekend for Casey.

"And who knows, after the next few games with Casey and if Melbourne can sneak into the finals, you never know what could happen.

"If I'm playing well I might sneak in and get a gig.

"But at this stage I'm just focusing on Casey, getting my body right and playing for them."

Wonaeamirri has kicked 37 goals in 31 games for the Demons, the last coming in round eight.

In addition to his father's death, Wonaeamirri was deeply affected by the passing away of his mentor and cousin Maurice Rioli late last year.

The Richmond great - who like Wonaeamirri hailed from Melville Island - is a member of the AFL Indigenous Team of the Century.

Wonaeamirri was speaking on Monday at the launch of Legends, a book about the sport's greatest indigenous players.

Wonaeamirri, 22, felt a special bond with his fellow Tiwi Islanders Rioli and David Kantilla, who starred for SANFL club South Adelaide in the 1960s.

"David played great football for South Adelaide," said Wonaeamirri.

"He was a Tiwi man who went down to the SANFL and did what everyone didn't expect him to do.

"It's good that they have acknowledged these legends, the guys who made it so much easier for us indigenous guys, showing us what was possible."

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