COLLINGWOOD key defender Nathan Brown is ready to resume his AFL career.
He has not played an AFL match since Collingwood’s 2010 premiership triumph — his 50th game at top level.
Brown was hailed one of the Magpies’ heroes in their two grand final appearances against St Kilda that year, keeping a tight grip on Nick Riewoldt in each match.
Brown has had a series of injury issues since that unforgettable finals series.
He initially underwent a knee reconstruction after pre-season mishap last year.
Then, when well on the way to recovery, Brown slipped while hiking on the last day of a mid-season high-altitude training camp in the United States and required surgery to repair a damaged patella tendon.
The former Ballarat Swans junior also took the opportunity during the extended break to have shoulder surgery to ensure his body would be in top shape for his return.
Brown has played two games with Collingwood in the VFL to put the final touches to his rehabilitation.
He put in an even performance in a loss to the North Ballarat Roosters and then produced a starring role in a 71-point win over the Northern Blues at the weekend.
Brown said he had pulled up exceptionally well after getting through his first full game.
“I ran the game out really well ... no cramp.
“I’m feeling really confident in my body.”
He said he had trained hard yesterday and was feeling good.
Exactly when Brown is called up is in the hands of the Collingwood match committee.
He is hoping his comeback match will be against Port Adelaide at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Brown is particularly eager to line up against Essendon in what would be his fifth Anzac Day clash.
He said outside the two grand finals in 2010, Anzac Day had been his biggest experiences for when it came to atmosphere.
“There’s no other (home and away) game like it.”
He said he would have no issues with backing up for two games in five days.
Brown said he was excited about resuming and getting another opportunity to prove himself.
“I’ve matured a lot in the past year.”
He is confident he can inject enthusiasm and excitement into the team.
Collingwood is certainly in need of a key defender, with Ben Reid out with a quadricep strain for up to seven rounds and under the hammer with just one win in the opening three rounds.