Jails awash with footy talent: Krakouer
Collingwood forward Andrew Krakouer, who has joined West Perth for the 2014 WAFL season. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

Reborn football star Andrew Krakouer has urged recruiters to look inside the walls of WA prisons to seek out potential stars for the elite levels of the game.

Krakouer, a one-time Richmond forward, defied even his own expectations by putting behind him a 16-month jail stint in Wooroloo Prison to join Collingwood in 2011 and storm back into AFL prominence.

The 31-year-old will today play his first WAFL game for his latest club, West Perth, against South Fremantle at Arena Joondalup, marking the start of another chapter in his famous family's football journey.

Having spent 16 months behind bars after being convicted of assault outside a Fremantle nightclub in 2008, he said WA jails were teeming with football talent capable of following his on-field lead.

"I've been there first-hand, so I know what they may be thinking, their hopes and potential and what may be down the track," Krakouer told _The Weekend West _.

"Obviously, there are a fair few boys with a fair bit of talent in there who could quite easily play WAFL and, with the right direction, AFL.

"There is an amazing amount of talent, boys who can really play the game.

"They've chosen a different path, but everyone makes mistakes and everyone can get back on the horse.

"You can always try to better yourself in the future and if they can do the right thing and get themselves back on the right path, who knows what they can achieve."

Krakouer, as narrator in the upcoming ABC series Outside Chance, had the opportunity to look into the eyes of WA prison inmates and saw the unfulfilled dreams that he made real.

He said that during his time in jail, when he captained the prison team to an amateur premiership, he had no plans or expectation to return to the AFL.

But it gave him an important "social rehabilitation" with his family.

"The biggest thing was hope," he said. "Some of the boys have taken a fair bit out of my story and look up to me as a role model and I'm quite happy to wear that.

"I've worn the same clothes as them, been in the same shoes and been doing the same things they've been doing.

"But I've come out the other side and made a dream into a reality so there is hope."

Krakouer remembered his stunning goal against Port Adelaide in his first game for the Magpies in round one of 2011 as the moment he realised he had dragged himself from the brink of self- destruction and resurrected his sporting career.

"That day, I didn't think it was going to happen again . . . to be playing another AFL game after what happened and me being incarcerated," he said. "It's all a bit of a blur now, looking back.

"It all happened so quickly and a fair amount of water went under the bridge in a short time.

"I had a pretty good handle on things, but with the situation I was in, I had to adapt pretty quickly. You just roll with the punches and move on.

"You realise you're in a different place and you're going to have to go about things in a different way. Now it's good to be back home and out of the AFL spotlight, I suppose.

"There was a time when I finished at Collingwood when I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do, but now it's started up again, the passion is back.

"While the mind is still willing and able, you may as well have a crack because you're a long time retired."

The West Australian

Popular videos

Our Picks

Follow Us

More from The West