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Valuable learning experience for youth: Taberner

Megan West - Curtin University  February 25, 2018 7:00 PM

See the highlights from today's clash against the Crows.

Fremantle forward Matthew Taberner said he was impressed by his team’s overall performance after a rollercoaster 10-point loss to Adelaide at Strathalbyn Oval.

Freo trailed by 29-points at half time before fighting back and holding a nine-point lead during the fourth quarter.

Adelaide quickly turned around the defecit and sealed the win late with three quick goals.

“It was definitely a good hit-out, and coming up against a pretty good opponent, it was good to test ourselves,” he said.

“Despite the result we were pretty happy about the way we went about it, and got some good experience into some young players.”

First year players Bailey Banfield (two goals) and Andrew Brayshaw (14 disposals) impressed in their first preseason game, while Stefan Giro and ruckman Lloyd Meek also earned limited game time in their first hit-out for Freo.

Taberner, who kicked three goals for the day, had only praise for his new teammates in their first game for the club.

“I loved the way Brayshaw went about it, he was pretty fierce in the midfield and got his hands on it and Bailey up forward applied some pretty manic pressure,” he said.

With a 29-point deficit at half time, Taberner said senior coach Ross Lyon’s message was to get back to basics.

“He just wanted us to play a bit more direct and he thought fundamentals, not fumbling and stuff like that,” he said.

“I thought we really applied that in the second half and we were a bit more cleaner and direct.”

Defender Alex Pearce made a successful return to football after 645 days on the sidelines with a broken leg, finishing with six marks and eight disposals.

Taberner said he was impressed with Pearce’s performance after facing a ‘hard time and adversity’.

“He’s great, I have the privilege to play on him a bit at training, he’s had a great preseason and I thought he was really good down back,” he said.

“He’s rated internally very highly, not just as a player but also the leadership and direction he provides.”

With the majority of Freo players fit and available for selection, Taberner said there was intense competition for spots in the side.

“There’s a lot of guys fighting for spots and with a lot of available spots, it puts pressure on them, so guys are eager to perform, so that’s a real benefit from it,” he said.