AS STEWART Crameri reflected on his return to AFL football on Friday night, he kept coming back to one word – special.

Having questioned his career after persistent hip injuries and an ASADA ban that restricted him to two games in 966 days, the new Cat had every right to carry a beaming smile post-match. 

Working in tandem with Tom Hawkins, who he described as a "genius", new excitement machine Esava Ratugolea and superstar Patrick Dangerfield, Crameri netted two goals in his 100th game.

"First game back for a while and the 100th, it's all sort of accumulated into one great moment I think and I'll remember it forever," Crameri said.

"It's pretty special because I know how hard it is just to get here. To have a second chance is just enormous because these things don't last forever.

"I know my friends and family have helped me out a lot, worked really hard at Geelong for the last six months just to get my body right.

"Just to be back out playing, especially on a Friday is just huge I reckon."

Presented his jumper by Dangerfield pre-match, the former Bulldog and Bomber got better as the game went on.

Goals either side of half-time were met with big celebration from teammates, every player on the ground getting to him after the first.

"I was hoping for a goal there at one stage, the boys got around me and it was just an amazing feeling because I haven't felt that in a while," Crameri said.

"Even the backmen came and gave a pat on the back, that was pretty special.

"It took me a while to get into the game, but once I found my feet I was alright and got back into the rhythm of AFL footy again."

Crameri's 97th AFL match came in the 2015 elimination final as the Dogs lost to Adelaide in a thriller.

The following season was spent watching on, one of 34 players serving an ASADA ban from his time at Essendon, before his 2017 season was cut short after round two requiring hip surgery.

"I don't think we can overstate how proud we are of what he's worked through," coach Chris Scott said post-match.

"It is clear at 29 this is probably his last chance at the big time and he just continues to put his hand up."

Crameri said the club put no ceiling on expectations for his performance and will now have to fight to maintain his spot with Daniel Menzel set to return from a groin setback.