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Football future a secondary concern

Nathan Schmook  January 11, 2013 6:02 PM

luke portrait.jpg

Luke McPharlin training

At this point in time all we're thinking about is his wellbeing really. Football is really secondary.


FREMANTLE midfielder Anthony Morabito is expected to meet with his manager and club officials next week to discuss surgery options in the wake of his devastating third knee injury.

Morabito, who ruptured his left anterior cruciate ligament for the third time in three years during training on Wednesday, has taken time away from the club following the latest setback.

Defender Luke McPharlin said the 21-year-old's football future was a secondary concern for Fremantle, with the club focused on his wellbeing.

"A bit of space is what he's wanted, so we're respectful of that," McPharlin said on Friday.

"At this point in time all we're thinking about is his wellbeing really. Football is really secondary.

"I'm sure there's a lot of questions that people will be asking at this point in time and speculating about what's going to happen in the future.

"But Ross (Lyon) is pretty strong on let's just step back and consider a young 21-year-old man going through a pretty difficult phase and we need to consider his feelings and be respectful of them."

Pick No.4 in the 2009 NAB AFL Draft, Morabito suffered the injury during a regulation training drill at Fremantle Oval when he reached to tackle teammate Tanner Smith.

The talented midfielder has not played since 2010 when he stamped himself as a future star, playing 23 of 24 games in his debut season.  

McPharlin said the news had hit the players hard this week, but they needed to push on through the pre-season.

"We made a point of it this morning that we need to get ourselves up and continue and forge ahead," he said.  

"It's certainly impacted us, no question. But unfortunately it's business as usual.

"We need to continue our preparation for what will hopefully be an exciting year for us, albeit being respectful of Anthony and his situation."

McPharlin trained away from the main group on Friday after experiencing a tight calf, but the veteran said he expected to return to full training on Monday.

Captain Matthew Pavlich, who had minor back surgery in November, also completed a running and agility session on his own.

"He (Pavlich) is doing a lot of work in the gym," McPharlin said. "He was on the track early this morning doing a few laps, so he's already getting his run up, which is great.

"He seems to be moving along quite nicely."

Young star Nat Fyfe was again absent at Friday's session and McPharlin said the club was taking a cautious approach with the 21-year-old's preparations.  

"He's working very hard with our strength and conditioning staff and he's just being managed and monitored through this period," McPharlin said.

"He's another crucial element for us to be playing our best football, so we'll manage him as best we can and get him ready for the season."

Nathan Schmook is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Nathan