HE’S a West Perth favourite son and the Falcons faithful have been longing to see him back on the park.
The return of veteran WAFL midfielder Matt Guadagnin is imminent after his second knee reconstruction.
It could be as soon as this weekend against Perth in the reserves, but if not, the near-200 gamer confirmed he would be back the following round against Subiaco.
It’s been the standard nine-month recovery for the 32-year-old, who ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament against Perth in July of last year.
He did not have the reconstruction until three months after the incident.
The premiership rover said it had been a smooth rehabilitation.
“As far as my knee goes, I was probably right to go three weeks ago,” he said.
“Since I’ve been picking up the training, my hamstring’s been getting a little bit sore so that’s been the one that’s holding me back.
“The knee’s been passing with flying colours so far, so really happy with that.”
Guadagnin went through the dreaded process on the same knee in 2007.
But he emphasised that injury was not related to his current one, which happened as the result of an awkward knock rather than a weakness.
Comparing the two injuries, he considered this year’s recovery to have been “a lot better”, despite also needing a bone graft.
“They had to wait (three months) for that to set, then they went in and did the full recon,” he said.
“So it’s actually been just over nine months now since the reconstruction and it’s been really good.”
With West Perth all but certain to make the finals, he was confident he could contribute in September off the back of just a few games.
The Falcons have four matches remaining.
“I’ve still got faith that if I’m up and going I can help the side and have an impact at some stage, it’s just whether I can get the games under by belt,” he said.
West Perth coach Bill Monaghan said the club was being realistic about the situation and would not rush Guadagnin back into the senior side if “his form is not there”.
But he would be given every chance to prove himself.
“If it works and he can get two or three games in prior to the finals and we play finals footy then he can only add to us in terms of his quality,” he said.
A return to football has not been the biggest of priorities for Guadagnin in recent weeks, with the birth of his first child Riley on July 15 taking centre stage.
Predictably smitten with his newborn daughter, he was looking forward to her being in the stands on game day soon.