Stewart Crameri is a man refreshed and ready to embrace change.
The 29-year-old was handed a much-desired AFL lifeline on Monday night, taken by Geelong in the 2017 AFL Rookie Draft.
The move offers Crameri a chance to revive his 99-game AFL career that has been stalled for the best part of two years through suspension and injuries.
Traded to the Western Bulldogs from Essendon at the end of the 2013 season after 57 games with the Bombers, Crameri played two impressive seasons with the Dogs, leading the club’s goal kicking in 2014 before he missed the entire 2016 season through suspension stemming from the Essendon supplements saga.
He missed the Bulldogs’ historic premiership victory in that same year and played just the opening two rounds of 2017 before being struck down with a hip injury that required season-ending surgery.
It’s the past two torrid years that has Crameri desperate to pay back the faith Geelong has shown in him.
“It’s given me a new lease on life,” Crameri said of the shift to the Cats when speaking to The Maryborough District Advertiser on Wednesday.
“It’s a new club and even though I’m a little bit older, I still feel like I’ve been reborn and I’m young again, ready to start all over.
“It’s good to have a clean slate every now and then and to work your way up and that’s why I’m excited by the potential of playing with this group.
“I can’t wait to start, I’ve been given a second chance and now I just want to play really good footy next year.”
Having felt the relief of securing another chance at AFL level wash over him, Crameri admits that he doubted if he would ever play at the elite level again, rating his chances as “50-50” after his delisting from the Western Bulldogs.
He’s now hell-bent on making his stint at Geelong a successful one, both personally and for the club.
“To be delisted off the back of an injury and to not be given the chance to prove myself after the year ban has been a long process so it’s good that it is now at an end. Now I can start playing football again which is a huge relief.
“I want to prove to myself that I can still play football in the AFL and I want to actually help a team win a flag because I missed out in 2016.
“There’s a burning desire inside of me that wants to play in a premiership and a successful team so I’ve got a fair bit of drive behind me, now I’m just hoping to get on the park and play a few games.”
For more on this story see the Back Page of The Advertiser, Friday, December 1