Ararat Rats product Tom Williamson will make his long-awaited return to the football field at the weekend.
The 20-year-old footballer will play with Carlton's VFL-affiliate side Northern Blues on Saturday, about eight months since his last game.
Back injuries plagued the young defender last year, limiting him to just one VFL game which he was unable to complete in late May.
He said it is exciting to be back in the mix to play football again.
"It is been a while since I have played a game, the last game I played was hardly a game so it feels like a long time since I have had a real hit out," he said.
"I am feeling 100 per cent now which is really good."
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Williamson sustained the injury in the 2018 preseason and broke down in his first game back. He said he is feeling more confident in his return this weekend compared to last time.
"I have a lot more trust in my body. I wouldn't say I rushed it last time but I have put a fair bit more work in than before," he said.
"I have done all my gym work, put in a lot of running sessions and am ready to go."
Carlton high performance head Andrew Russell said Williamson is looking good on the training track.
"(He) has had a great training block for the last six to eight weeks: we've been really excited by what he's been able to produce," he said.
"Not just physically, he's done a lot of footy preparation work. We expect him to be available this week and start preparing to play AFL."
Williamson and the Northern Blues will take on Collingwood at Victoria Park on Saturday afternoon. He said he believes a return to the AFL team is on the cards should he have a good run against the Magpies.
"If i can get a solid week or two in I should be up for AFL selection at some point," he said.
"It is always in the hands of selectors but hopefully I can put my best foot forward."
Williamson has played 15 AFL games, with his last coming in round 23, 2017.
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