A motivation to be the fittest player on his team was what turned Karl Worner into a running machine in his time at the Oakleigh Chargers, and the Fremantle rookie selection is now looking to use that same motivation to catch up with his teammates after arriving at the Club.
The 19-year-old emerged from quarantine last week and has looked to hit the ground running at training, taking part in most drills as he transitions to working at an AFL level.
He said he was under no illusions about where he currently stands in his pre-season preparations.
“It was a little bit unfortunate that I haven’t been able to do those two months of pre-season (with my teammates) and I can acknowledge that I’m a little bit behind in that aspect and not up to AFL speed,” Worner said.
“It will take a little bit of time but I’m really looking forward to the challenge of getting up to AFL standard. Being in training, you see the ball moves a lot quicker and it’s something that I’ll adapt to in time.”
Making his speed and fitness a priority prior to the draft, Worner ran a blistering 6.07 time at the National Combine which caught the eye of Fremantle’s recruiters.
“Through the Covid period, I got myself a coach and did a lot of training by myself in lockdown,” Worner said.
“Something I really worked towards was being one of the fittest people on my team. I sought a lot of feedback and that really helped me a lot.”
That speed will come in use as an outside midfielder at Fremantle, which is where Worner is currently training to play.
“At the moment it’s looking like a wing role. It’s something that I’m pretty familiar with over the past year. It’s the role I played at the Oakleigh and a bit of half back,” Worner said.
"I’m happy with wherever I’m asked to play but I really like the challenge of the wing and the running patterns. Whatever I’m fronted with, I’m really looking forward to taking that challenge on.”
On Tuesday, Worner had his first training session at Optus Stadium and said he hoped to have the chance to play there in front of the Freo fans.
“I’ve watched quite a bit of Freo and the (RAC Derbies) over the past couple of years, the players have said it’s just an unreal crowd and atmosphere,” Worner said.
“It’s something I’m going to work hard for and I’m going to earn my position in the team. It’s a challenge that’s there and I’m really looking forward to one day playing in front of the Purple Army, as they are a pretty good crew!”