Forward Shane Yarran will complete the transition from jailbird to AFL footballer when he makes his debut for Fremantle in Saturday’s clash with Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.
Yarran’s dreams of competing at the elite level appeared in tatters when he was sentenced to six years jail for burglary charges earlier in his career.
But he has completed a remarkable rise since being released from prison in March, 2013.
Two standout seasons for WAFL club Subiaco revived Yarran’s AFL hopes, and the Dockers took a punt by selecting him with pick No.61 in the 2015 national draft.
But it has been far from smooth sailing for Yarran since arriving at the Dockers.
Knee and calf injuries grounded the 185cm forward for the first half of the season, and he went into the bad books last month when he was charged with disorderly behaviour and failing to obey police orders during a night out in Leederville.
Yarran copped an $800 fine after pleading guilty to those charges, but coach Ross Lyon says the 27-year-old has since won back the trust of everyone at the club.
“There’s deposits and withdrawals, isn’t there? Obviously it was a slight withdrawal. Clearly it wasn’t ideal,” Lyon said of Yarran’s recent misbehaviour.
“We always support the person and challenge the behaviour. We believe he’s a good person who’s had some challenges.
“He’s building his life and is trying to redeem himself.”
Yarran is a ready-made player for the Dockers after winning the Bernie Naylor medal as the WAFL’s leading goalkicker last season.
But Lyon said it was unfair to expect Yarran to star in AFL ranks from the get-go.
“No one comes in and tears AFL footy apart – it’s very rare,” Lyon said.
“But he’s an incredibly hard trainer and he’s held himself together really well (after) starting on the back foot.
“He’s come through the door as a higher-end athlete than we thought.
“He’s put on four or five kilos here, and he’s an extreme speed and endurance sort of athlete.”
The Dockers will be forced to make three changes this week, with Michael Barlow (shoulder), Hayden Ballantyne (fractured cheekbone) and Matthew Pavlich (rested) all ruled out.
Yarran and Ed Langdon come into the side, with Lyon toying with the prospect of including a ruckman as back-up to Jon Griffin.
The Suns will be without star duo Gary Ablett and Michael Rischitelli.
Barlow underwent surgery this week after damaging the AC joint in his left shoulder during last Friday’s loss to Geelong.
The 28-year-old is out of contract at season’s end, but Lyon said he wouldn’t discuss Barlow’s future in a public forum.
Lyon visited Barlow in hospital earlier this week, and he said the injury was a serious one.
“It was a little bit unusual the injury – he fractured some of the shoulder socket,” Lyon said.
“But they’ve played with it and repaired it, and he’ll be really healthy in time.”