Main content
United by Purple

‘Flashy’ AFLX teaches teamwork: Walters

Stefan Giro kicks a 'Zooper goal' for Freo. Stefan Giro kicks Freo's first ever 'Zooper' goal.
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 15: Michael Walters of the Dockers in action during the AFLX match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Fremantle Dockers at Hindmarsh Stadium on February 15, 2018 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media)
Michael Walters in action in AFLX.

Fremantle forward Michael Walters saw the inaugural AFLX tournament as an important experience to a young Freo outfit.

Freo finished the Thursday evening round-robin tournament at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide with one win and one loss, defeating Port Adelaide by 17-points after falling to Geelong by the same margin earlier in the night.

Experience paid off in the Freo ranks, with Walters leading a relatively older Freo side to victory in the second game.

In the opening game, Freo fielded Connor Blakely, Cam Sutcliffe, Ed Langdon, Griffin Logue and Brennan Cox alongside five players who are yet to make their AFL debuts in Stefan Giro, Tom North, Mitch Crowden, Taylin Duman and Bailey Banfield.

In the second match, Andrew Brayshaw was the only Freo player yet to play an AFL game and lined alongside Walters, Bradley Hill, Brady Grey, Danyle Pearce, Brandon Matera, Luke Ryan, Darcy Tucker, Tommy Sheridan and Cam McCarthy.

While Walters admitted that AFLX was about the spectacle, he said it held some good lessons about teamwork for a growing Freo unit.

“Games like that are really fun, but then again you need to play the team game well as a unit,” Walters said.

“There’s lots of flashy stuff happening out there, but if the team doesn’t work, it can go pear-shaped pretty quickly.

“You don’t want the opposition to get goal side of you because then you are chasing them for the whole game. 

“You need more communication and leadership from everyone because it is such a fast game.”

The Fremantle leader said it was an important experience for a playing group eager to get back to playing footy. 

“You can see out there the boys are just hungry, the pre-season is fun but no-one really wants to run laps all the time,” Walters said.

“It’s always about touching the footy getting, your hands on the ball and just playing with the boys, playing with your brothers, that you’ve worked so hard with over the pre-season.

“To get out there and play some footy, that’s what we get paid for, and that’s what we want to do.”

The hitout was an important one for Walters, who made his return to action after injuring his knee in round 18 of the 2017 season against Hawthorn.

“After tonight I found that desire and hunger to get back and playing,” Walters said.

“I just can’t wait for the JLT (Community Series) to start.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs