Dog Dale Morris feels like pup again

On the eve of his AFL return Dale Morris is experiencing emotions more akin to a debutant – but despite being nervous the dependable backman couldn’t be more excited to return to the field.

After an exhaustive 18 month journey rehabilitating a badly broken leg, Morris is buoyed to again assume a key defensive post – beginning tomorrow night in round one of the NAB Cup.

“Full of nerves, a lot of excitement… going through all the team meetings getting sweaty hands – it feels like it has come around a lot quicker than it has but during that time out it felt like it took forever,” Morris said.

“I am just wrapped the games are here and I really can’t wait to get out there and have a run around with the boys again and see how everything goes.

“[I’m] going through the same motions as a lot of the boys here will be feeling come tomorrow night… it’s all starting again.”

The veteran said a return was fitting against Essendon – the same team he played against when he endured the horrific injury.

“I did the injury against Essendon and now coming back against Essendon, I’ve almost done a full circle,” he said.

“The light was always at the end of the tunnel… I was determined to get back and to play footy again and nothing was going to get in my way.

“The people around the footy club have that much confidence in myself and I have that much confidence in them – all the medical staff and everyone, the footy staff – that once talking to them, I knew it was going to be fine.”

While Morris would not be blamed if he was out of touch – having not played a full game since round 22, 2011 – he refuses to let his opponents exploit key areas of his game.

The All-Australian forged a career as being a close-checking defender who can play on a variety of opponents and Morris has paid particular attention to re-establishing his strengths during the pre-season.

“I have done a lot of training with the fitness staff here and a bit focus was on speed and agility – especially with the leg

“One of my strengths was speed and agility to play on the talls and the small and that was something that I really needed to focus on

“Because coming into a game the opposition know exactly what I have been through and… I don’t want to give them any edge on me

“So everything is back to how it was and I really can’t wait to get out there.”