Collingwood livewire Andrew Krakouer will return from a knee reconstruction against Essendon, only six months since tearing his ACL in a VFL practice match.
Magpies coach Nathan Buckley said that Krakouer was a 'definite' starter in Saturday night's clash at the MCG.
Krakouer had been expected to miss the whole of the 2012 season after he underwent a traditional ACL reconstruction in late February.
The mercurial forward wrestled with the idea of having the radical LARS surgery, but opted for traditional surgery in the end.
Buckley commended Krakouer's efforts in getting his body right before the end of the season.
"He has had his challenges but has been fantastic in his approach to recovery," he said.
Buckley said that Krakouer had 'demanded selection' and the coach was adamant the 29-year-old had earned his place in the side.
"This is a bloke there on his own merits, it is an absolute credit to him," he said.
Krakouer played his fourth VFL game on the weekend and managed 29 disposals, 10 tackles and eight clearances in a midfield role.
Buckley said that Krakouer would play through the forward line and possibly in a midfield role against the Bombers.
"He has a strong ability to win contested ball," Buckley said.
"He's probably got the cleanest hands in tight of nearly any player who's played the game in recent times.
"He will come in to the side and bring his experience with him."