West Coast captain Luke Shuey has put up his hand to play against the Western Bulldogs on Sunday after getting through his WAFL return from hamstring surgery unscathed.
Shuey needed hamstring tendon surgery after breaking down late in the final quarter of the round three win over Port Adelaide.
The 31-year-old has experienced repeated soft tissue injuries in the last year but looked comfortable while gathering 22 disposals from about 80 minutes on the field.
Shuey felt he’d done enough to follow the same program as Elliot Yeo and return to the AFL after one game at the lower level.
“I pulled up fine which is good. I got through and felt fine. Fingers crossed that I get the call-up,” Shuey said.
“The body went exactly how I wanted it to go. I blew up late. I felt like I was running on a treadmill at times. I felt reasonably sharp but I got through unscathed which was the main thing.
“I think I’ve done enough work to be able to run out a game well enough, but we’ll see.”
Shuey admitted being nervous about making his WAFL return but described the surgery and recovery as a “complete re-set.”
He met with experts in the eastern states and focused on re-building his body from scratch.
The trend of soft tissue injuries has forced the Norm Smith medallist to re-assess the way he prepares for games. He said a decision had been made to reduce both his training loads and the intensity that he trains at when preparing for games.
“That’s probably one thing now, and a lot of guys my age around the competition can’t do any more,” Shuey said.
“You can’t train every time to get better unfortunately which goes against everything we talk about growing up and as athletes in a competitive field. It goes against everything you preach.
“But for a lot of us now at the age and with some of the things our bodies are doing and aren’t allowed to do any more, finding ways to hold yourself back throughout the week to get up for game day is the challenge.”