FREMANTLE skipper Matthew Pavlich says returning star Anthony Morabito "looks a million dollars" as the injury-plagued midfielder continues to build towards a long-awaited recall.

Morabito, playing his first game in 20 months, made it through three quarters of Peel Thunder's WAFL practice match win against Perth on Saturday.

The 22-year-old, who underwent a third reconstruction of his troublesome left knee in January last year, pulled up well from the match, and is set to play in Peel's final pre-season hit-out against South Fremantle on Saturday.

Morabito will start the season proper in the WAFL, but could return to AFL ranks in the first half of the year if everything goes to plan.

Pavlich said the whole club was buoyed by Morabito's return.

"It looked like he hardly ran around. He looked a million dollars when he walked in yesterday and he looked the same again today," Pavlich said on Monday.

"We're rapt that he got through and played well ... and did a few things that we've always known that he's got in that body of his.

"It's amazing what adversity and hard times puts you through, and how that makes you grow.

"Anthony's had the best part of three years going through that adversity.

"So to see him come out the other side as a well rounded, mature and better off (person) is a testament to him and the footy club's support of him."

Morabito played 23 games in his standout rookie campaign of 2010 before being struck down by knee injuries.

The 189cm midfielder underwent traditional knee reconstructions on the first two occasions, but opted for a hybrid LARS procedure when his knee buckled for a third time.