ANTHONY Morabito says it was a "dream come true" to finally return to AFL ranks against Melbourne in Darwin on Saturday night.
After three consecutive left knee reconstructions stalled his impressive start to his career at 23 games, Morabito marked his comeback amid much fanfare in Freo's 63-point win at TIO Stadium.
The 22-year-old waited 1394 days between matches and was forced to cool his jets as the substitute until the 15-minute mark of the third quarter.
With the sting out of the match, Morabito ran onto the field and quickly found his first possession when he was awarded a free kick for a push in the back by Melbourne forward Chris Dawes.

"It was a dream come true really. It's obviously been a long time and I was just really thankful that I had the boys embrace me and (they) brought me into the game, which was nice," Morabito said post-match.
"And thanks to 'Dawesy' for dumping me into the ground and giving me a kick first up."
Morabito gathered eight possessions, with his last nearly bringing the house down.
With just 15 seconds left on the clock he found himself free in the pocket 20m out and fired at goal, but pulled his shot to the near side.
"Don't remind me. I was just pretty cooked at the end of it, but nah I should have finished it," he said.

Morabito last played in Fremantle's 2010 semi-final loss to Geelong at the MCG, but he didn't feel the game had changed much in his time on the sidelines.
"I don't really remember four years ago. To tell you the truth I didn't find it overly different, which was good," the No. 4 pick in the 2009 NAB AFL Draft said.
"The thing to take into account is that our training sessions take us above and beyond what most of the time a game is.
"I've pushed my body to levels probably further than that so I was really comfortable."
Morabito's father, Vince, travelled from Harvey in WA's south-west to be at the match and he paid tribute to his family for their support during an agonising three years.
"I never got close to calling it all off. I think when you're full of emotion you say stuff that's off the cuff. I'm thankful for my upbringing that I was able to keep going on just because of the person that I've been moulded into," Morabito said.
"He (his father) was a big part of the last three years and keeping me going, so I think it's very special to have him here and I know he would have appreciated it."
Dockers coach Ross Lyon heralded Morabito's "willpower and desire" to make it back to the AFL, adding another potent weapon to Fremantle's strong midfield brigade.
"Selfishly, we always wanted an AFL powerful midfielder back. That's what we still want and that's been prised open a little bit more tonight," Lyon said.
"We're in the business of winning footy games and we think he can be significant in the journey we're on going forward.
"Clearly, Anthony doesn't want to be known about recos, he's on his journey now.
"He's kick-started his career to become a great player. We're on a journey as a club, we want to win a premiership, so Anthony wants to be a part of that.
"That's his story now."

Anthony Morabito got the customary Gatorade shower post-match. Picture: AFL Media