Matthew Taberner is set to play a full AFL season for the first time in his career when he runs out against the Western Bulldogs on Sunday at Cazaly’s Stadium in Cairns.
While the tall forward would have missed some games early in his career as he developed, he played just eight games in 2017 and nine each in 2018 and 2019.
Taberner said he’s benefitted from a change to his training regime.
“Coming off two stress fractures, I had to reassess my training loads,” Taberner said.
“There’s been a little load management. This year, I can get out for one main session a week in terms of training, which was good, and I think I’ve got a good balance.”
Now at peak fitness, Taberner has also been playing his career best football with 29 goals from 16 games to sit fourth in the Coleman Medal race. His previous best was an 18-goal season in 2016 from 17 games.
Taberner felt the results would come if he could get more games under his belt.
“Coming into this year I hadn’t played a full season. That was a goal of mine,” Taberner said.
“I was pretty confident, if I can get on the park and stay healthy I would play some decent footy. The main thing over the past couple of years has just been trying to play every game.”
Fremantle are 11th heading into the final round but are out of the finals race with St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs in seventh and eighth with an eight point advantage.
While the Bulldogs are fighting for the top eight, Taberner said Fremantle also had plenty to play for.
“We want to finish the year off really strongly and go into the pre-season with a bit of momentum,” Taberner said.
“There’s previous seasons where I finished the last game really strongly and it carries you into pre-season. That’s a really good feeling.
“The Bulldogs have got finals on the line. They’re going to throw everything at us.
“It’s more about how we can play and implement our system and finish the year strongly.”