Fremantle Dockers forward Matt Taberner reflects on successful WAFL return ahead of Carlton clash
Matt Taberner says Fremantle’s firing forward-line helped him avoid feeling “pressured” to rush back from his latest injury.
The important spearhead got through his return from a back issue unscathed in Peel Thunder’s easy WAFL win over East Perth in Mandurah at the weekend.
The 29-year-old booted three goals and took eight marks to put his hand up for the Dockers’ clash against Carlton at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.
Taberner said while yet another stint on the sidelines had been “frustrating”, seeing his team do well eased that feeling somewhat.
“It’s frustrating not playing, you obviously want to be out there and I’ve had a tough run with injury the last couple of years,” Taberner told The West Australian.
“There’s some really good signs and I don’t feel as pressured to get back out there too early because we’re going so well and the forwards are doing so well.
“Everyone is playing well and guys are stepping up, Rory Lobb is playing some good football and Griffin Logue has adapted to a new role playing forward, Bailey Banfield has been really good and Sam Switkowski.”
Taberner said he was “pretty close” to playing in Fremantle’s last game before the bye, their third win on the trot against Hawthorn at Optus Stadium, before club medical staff decided a WAFL return a week later was the better option.
It was the 2017 WAFL premiership player’s 48th appearance for the Thunder and first since round 17, 2018, kicking his 100th league goal for the club in the process.
“We decided to get a good training block in for the last 10-14 days and then we outlined this game as a good one to get some good volume and run,” he said.
“I’ve played a lot of good games down here so it’s nothing new for me, I think I’ve played 40-odd games and a premiership.”
Taberner felt “pretty good” after getting through about 70 per cent game time and said he would be up for AFL selection for the first time since getting subbed out in the second half of the Dockers’ round 11 win over Melbourne at the MCG.
“I missed a couple of weeks so it’s good to get a bit of run in the legs,” Taberner said.
“I got through unscathed and felt pretty good.
“I’ll be up for selection, obviously being out for a couple of weeks there’s been a real competition for spots.
“Everyone is playing well and the forward-line is working well but I’ll be up for selection.”
Taberner was impressed with the depth running around for the Thunder which he feels is crucial if Fremantle are to go deep into September.
“You’ve seen it all year that we’ve had confidence bringing guys back in,” he said.
“We’ve had guys miss with COVID and injury and there hasn’t been a huge drop off in our performances, guys just come in and played good.
“If we want to play some finals football at the end of the season, we need really good depth from everyone.”
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