Unfortunately Brent Staker knows all too well the feeling of utter devastation that comes after injuring a previously reconstructed knee for the second time.
In the past 10 days, two AFL players – Anthony Morabito (Fremantle) and Alex Woodward (Hawthorn) – have already suffered recurrences of existing knee problems and are set to undergo further reconstructive surgery.
The prognosis was particularly tough for 21 year-old Morabito, who is potentially facing his third consecutive season on the sidelines.
Staker, meanwhile, is close to completing his long journey back to the field after re-injuring his knee against West Coast in Round 21 of 2011.
Despite being obviously distraught at the time, Staker says the lengthy rehabilitation process seemed easier the second time around.
“I guess it has been a little bit easier because I’ve put a fair bit of work into my knee behind the scenes, and I really trust the operation and trust my knee,” Staker told River 949 radio recently.
“I think the first time I came back pretty quickly and was probably a bit hesitant.”
“But with a full 12 months behind me now, I feel really confident and good about it.”
“This pre-season is the first I’ve done for a couple of years, so it’s been good mixing and rubbing shoulder with the boys and feeling the vibe of football again.”
“The group, as a whole, has been going really well – there have been no real hiccups and the boys have been training the house down.”
“As soon as pre-season started, the boys knew exactly what they wanted to achieve, we weren’t just going to go through the motions.”
Staker also identified youngsters Elliot Yeo, Sam Docherty and Josh Green among his pre-season standouts.
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