Geraldton welcomes Matt

Matt Taberner5Matt Taberner had never been to Western Australia before he was drafted, so the trip to Geraldton for the AFL Community Camp has been a real eye-opener for him.

The 21-year-old forward was at the Midwest Clontarf Academy at Geraldton Senior College on Wednesday.

He said he thoroughly enjoyed spending some time with the students, especially when he recalled school visits AFL stars had paid to him as a youngster.

“They’ve really embraced it,” Taberner said of the Geraldton youth.

“Going through secondary school, I look back fondly on getting the opportunity to see AFL players and get some insight into the lifestyle.”

The regime of an AFL player has begun to normalise itself for Taberner, who was drafted by Freo as a rookie in 2012.

He said the transition from Victoria has been made easier by some very welcoming teammates, including one who’d made the same journey as he had.

“David Mundy, who was also from the Murray Bushrangers where I was drafted from, he spoke highly of the Freo Dockers,” Taberner said.

“(Matthew) Pavlich and Chris Mayne were welcoming as a forward.

“All the players embrace the interstate boys and make them feel welcome.”

Taberner has put on 10kg since he was drafted. He said his running – a major strength of his game – had not suffered as a result.

His goal is to win a spot in the club’s forward line in the 2015 season, but he acknowledged it wouldn’t be easy.

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“There’s plenty of competition,” Taberner said.

“We’re fit and available at this time of year, and we’ve got Michael Apeness, as well.

“He’s a really big kid, I’ve played a lot of WAFL football with him so I know what he can do. He’s really looked likely this pre-season.

“But there’s also a number of other players who have had good pre-seasons.”

Taberner believed there was room for Freo to play a multi-pronged line-up of talls in attack this season.

“You’d like to think so,” he said.

“We’ve been given plenty of opportunity in training to play a pretty tall forward line.”