Fremantle forward Michael Walters has learned much about life since he was exiled from the Dockers at the start of the year.

The death of his grandfather and the birth of his first child demanded his attention as he battled to drop weight and regain the belief of his AFL club.

Having manoeuvred his way through a difficult few months, Walters says the break from the AFL scene has renewed his appetite.

“It’s exciting, the break’s been tough but I’ve learned a lot,” he said.

“We had our first baby in the break and my grandfather passed away.

“In a way it was good to go back to WAFL level so I can spend time with my family but at the same time it gave me more hunger to get back.

“The hunger (to play AFL) is definitely there, don’t worry about that.”
Walters trained with the Dockers last Friday, his first session with teammates since Fremantle officials deemed his fitness was well below par in January.

The 21-year-old, who has dropped 9kg since being banished, is aware that he’s not close to adding to his 11 AFL games but he isn’t trying to rush things.

“I’m finally getting back in the gym so that’s helping me out a fair bit with the run, my legs aren’t getting too tired too quick,” he said.

“My key is to just lose more weight, more skinfolds, and get back. My focus isn’t to get a game yet but just training with the boys.”

Walters is the forgotten man of the Midvale trio drafted from Swan Districts in 2008, which also included West Coast star Nic Naitanui and Carlton’s Chris Yarran.

While Naitanui and Yarran have cemented roles at their respective clubs, Walters has yet to fulfill his undoubted talent at the highest level.

As he works his way back through the WAFL, accuracy continues to evade the 177cm forward – his 2.5 puts his season return at 6.14 from four matches.

But he remains an ever-present threat around goals and life wasn’t easy in greasy conditions at Claremont Oval on Saturday, where the Swans had an upset five-point win over reigning premiers Claremont.

“Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been missing more than what I’ve been kicking, I got 2.4 or 2.5 today, so I’m improving by one (1.4 last week),” he said.

“But the key for me is forward pressure and when I do get a chance to kick a goal just to nail them.

“It’s good to get the run back in my legs and I thought I played reasonably well today with the forward pressure.”

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