Karl Worner’s journey to get on an AFL list hasn’t been easy, landing at Fremantle at no.8 in the 2021 NAB AFL Rookie Draft after missing out in 2020.
Thanks to the 19-year-old’s work ethic, Worner didn’t leave anything to chance this year and the wingman is ready to put his determination to use in an AFL environment.
Previously a half back flank, intercepting defender or inside midfielder in his early junior years, Worner recently turned his focus to the wing, building his fitness to run an impressive 6.07 2km time trial - the sixth fastest time nationally at the draft combines.
“This was the first time I’ve ever played wing in my whole life. I’ve usually played on the ball and half back flank. I’ve been that intercept marking defender and that’s been one of my greatest strengths as well as my ball use,” Worner said.
“Making that transition to the wing, I got myself fitter and I really embraced that role, getting up and down the ground, trying to help out the team defence and impact the scoreboard. I want to be a wingman that works really hard and tries his best for his team.”
Worner said he was ‘pretty upset’ after missing out at the National Draft but that all went out the window when Fremantle selected him as a rookie on Friday afternoon.
He said it was an incredible moment to share with his family.
“I was sitting with my family in the living room when it happened and the rest is history. I’ve been going nuts ever since. I’m just absolutely pumped at the moment,” Worner said.
“They’re really proud and my family know how much work I’ve put into this, especially with Covid and a lot of these events happening, it hasn’t been an ideal situation for me and a lot of others.
“I’m absolutely pumped to be where I am now and so is my family. We all rode the bumps together, the highs and lows, and we’re just happy to be where we are.”
The Oakleigh Chargers product will have to wait for his arrival at Fremantle, remaining in Melbourne to train before entering WA due to border restrictions.
‘We’re very familiar to training alone in Victoria. However many months we spent lockdown last year and this year, I did a lot of training by myself,” Worner said.
“I know how to work hard but I can’t wait to get over to Perth and meet all the boys.
“I think Fremantle have such a promising list and everything is so exciting over at Optus Stadium at the moment. I can’t wait to get over there, work hard and meet all the new draftees as well.
“I’m absolutely pumped to be a part of Freo and the sea of purple.”
He’s also ready to embrace his new life in WA.
“My grandad is a WA boy born and bred. I’ve been over there quite a few times and I’ve got some family over there,” Worner said.
“At first it might be hard saying bye to my family, as we’re all pretty close, but we’re all here on my football journey but I can’t wait to get over to Perth and join everyone there.”