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For the love of the game

February 13, 2017 1:46 PM

AFL 2017 Portraits - Western Bulldogs

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 7: Stewart Crameri of the Bulldogs poses for a portrait during the Western Bulldogs team photo day at the VU Whitten Oval on February 7, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)

‘You’re meant to be here.’

That’s been the message from Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge for Stewart Crameri as he prepares to pull on the boots for the first time since September 2015.

Speaking with the The Age on the weekend, Crameri said that he’s felt a mix of rust and freshness since re-joining the Bulldogs on the training track late last season.

"We've had a couple of praccy matches and I've been OK, Crameri said.

“I feel good and I haven't had any injuries but I'm still a bit scratchy on some of the set-ups."

But it’s been the support of Beveridge and his teammates that have kept him moving forward and will ensure the 28-year-old is ready when he makes his official return.

"The coach says 'you're meant to be here' and as soon as that happens I remember and I'm fine.

“My teammates help me, too. Bits of it have changed and some I've just forgotten. But it's coming back. It's not taking me too long to pick things up again."

Though much has changed in his 18 months away from the game, much has stayed the same, in particular, the Crameri’s love of the game.

“It's a different place than it was, in a good way, so I'm looking forward to all of it.

“I haven't forgotten how much I love it. I can't wait to do it again."