Matt Taberner hopes a wealth of knowledge gained from his experienced teammates will hold him in good stead on Sunday when he makes his AFL debut against North Melbourne at Patersons Stadium.
The 197cm rookie, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Monday, was elevated to the senior list on 23 May and has been named as an emergency in matches leading up to round 13.
Taberner said Fremantle great Matthew Pavlich had already given him ample advice since his arrival at the club and was always approachable.
“Being a forward, he’s shared a few tips with me,” Taberner said.
It was the Freo captain’s meticulous preparation and professionalism that has stood out the most for Taberner.
“He sets a really good example for the younger guys, the way he trains and approaches games.”
Fellow leaders in Freo’s forward line have also been helping Taberner, particularly out on the training track, where learning positional play is crucial to play in senior coach Ross Lyon’s system.
“They always make sure I’m in the right spot and performing my roles as a forward,” he said.
Taberner was selected with pick 11 in last year’s rookie draft.
He played senior footy for Myrtleford in the Ovens and Murray League in 2012 before rounding out the season with four games for the Murray Bushrangers in the TAC Cup.
He has displayed consistently strong effort on a weekly basis with Peel Thunder in the WAFL this season.
Taberner’s debut was confirmed on the training track on Friday, when Lyon gave the Victorian the good news at the completion of the session.
Lyon also offered some words of advice for Sunday’s game.
“He said go out and do what you’ve been doing all season – 100 per cent effort and work hard,” Taberner said.
“Ross has given me a lot of advice throughout the year and I’ve been an emergency in the past few games.
“He told me to keep working at it and that I’d get my opportunity, which is what has happened.