Justin Longmuir has given key forward Matt Taberner the credit he deserves after an outstanding career-high seven goal performance in Fremantle’s 48-point win against Essendon on Sunday at Marvel Stadium.
It comes after Taberner was almost critical of his own game in his post-match interview on Fox Footy, saying he was ‘lucky’ after a first half that ‘wasn’t great’.
The key forward kicked four of Freo’s six goals in the third term as they turned what was an arm-wrestle into a percentage boosting win that sent Fremantle up to second on the ladder.
Longmuir praised the key forward’s work on the training track after an injury interrupted pre-season.
“I was really, really proud of him because I don’t think we have anyone who works harder on their game,” Longmuir said.
“He’s always doing extras, sometimes to his own detriment, he’s always working on his goal kicking and for him to kick so accurate today was really needed and a great reward for the effort he’s put in.
“He missed the early part of the year because of injury and his first game back against the Eagles was solid and by his own high standards, I think he would have felt pretty disappointed with his game last week.
“We reviewed it hard and I thought he competed really well and then got the rewards from his work rate. Like I said before he has put in a lot of work over a lot of years and it’s good to see those types of players get rewarded.”
After Fremantle struggled to take the ascendancy early, Taberner credited Freo’s daring play in the third term to open the game up.
“I think we just needed to play a bit more direct, we were getting our hands on the footy but turning it over through the centre and some shallow entries,” Taberner said on Fox Footy.
“(Essendon) are hard to stop, they’ve got a lot of bounce back there so we played into their hands in the first half, but we didn’t muck around with it, we got it in and put them under the pump.”
The game was Fremantle’s first win at Marvel Stadium against Essendon since 2010 but Taberner believes it’s a ground Fremantle can play well in their remaining four games at the venue in 2022.
“We actually don’t think we’ve played too bad footy here,” Taberner said.
“I think we played Essendon last year and they got a bit of a jump on us in the first quarter, but I think we played some good footy there after that but this time we really wanted to come out and throw the first punch.”
A country Victorian, Taberner said playing in Melbourne gave some players an important chance to perform in front of their family and friends as Freo made it two from two interstate wins this year.
“It was great, we haven’t played much footy in Melbourne recently, so it’s great to get back,” Taberner said.
“We’ve got a big East Coast contingent with a lot of Melbourne boys keen to get back and play in front of family.
“We just need to really put in the effort, we want to be a good team this year and it means we have to win away.”