NATHAN Krakouer will re-join the ranks of the AFL’s players on Saturday after being formally upgraded to Port Adelaide’s senior list overnight.
Senior coach Ken Hinkley has also confirmed the 26-year-old will be selected in the Power’s team to play North Melbourne.
It completes one of football’s more remarkable career resurrections, Krakouer having walked away from the game in 2011 and spent two seasons away from the upper echelons of competition.
Originally drafted to Port Adelaide in 2006, Krakouer played 40 games for the Power between 2007 and 2010.
He moved to Gold Coast in 2011, where he would play 13 games before retiring.
Returning home to Western Australia, Krakouer played for Kambalda before re-joining Port Adelaide as one of its contracted SANFL players in 2013. There he played 16 games, including the in the SANFL Grand Final against Norwood.
The news of his upgrade is another box ticked in his comeback to the elite game.
Under AFL rules, the Power is able to promote a rookie to temporarily replace a player on the long term injury list; in this case, Krakouer replaces 18-year-old ruckman Billy Frampton, who is at least four weeks from returning from his shin rehabilitation.
Krakouer had 23 touches and two goals in the club’s opening SANFL win against South Adelaide last Friday and is excited by the chance to pull black, white and teal on again this Saturday.
“It’s been a long journey and now I get another chance at it,” Krakouer told portadelaidefc.com.au.
“Kenny told me yesterday and I was pretty surprised, but really happy.”
Driving 230 kilometres from Leonora to Kambalda every week of the WA Goldfields league’s 2013 season, Krakouer never entertained the chance of playing semi-professional state league football, let alone another tilt at the elite game.
And the disciplined journey to recover his AFL career has met its fair share of hurdles, but Krakouer’s persistence has, finally, paid off.
“I’m glad it’s turned out the way it has at the moment [the upgrade and selection],” Krakouer said.
“I wasn’t stressing about my diet and fitness when I was playing country, but when I came back into the SANFL I had to get myself in real good shape before even getting the chance to play AFL again.”
High-intensity cardio sessions (or ‘sweaties’), trimming down to elite size and development of his craft at SANFL level have been part of an intensive 16-month period for Krakouer.
“I thought I did that a bit over the last year, as well as playing extra games, extra ‘sweaties’, watching my diet, getting my ‘skinnies’ down, to get his chance this weekend.
“Then I did some level of pre-season – nothing compared to the rest of the senior boys – and I think that, and being in the SANFL last year, gave me a base to get to this point.”
Reaching this point in his second career tilt means plenty to Krakouer, but he knows to take nothing for granted when a coaching panel shows its faith.
Now he must play a role.
“I think people that know me, what I’ve had to do and how hard it was, can see how much it means.
“For me, I’m just caught up in the moment, and I probably won’t really appreciate the sort of work it takes to get back to AFL until I’m older, for me I just need to play my role on Saturday and enjoy the opportunity.”
portadelaidefc.com.au will have Saturday’s AFL and SANFL teams first at 5:55pm on Thursday night.