Developing forward Matt Taberner is just one of 22 Fremantle players who have recorded personal-best endurance running times in their season preparation for this year, something that gives coach Ross Lyon much optimism for the year ahead.
For the Dockers to be significant premiership contenders again, all-round progression will have to come from the likes of Taberner, 21, to take the pressure off key forward Matthew Pavlich, 33, in what could be the 300-game captain’s final season.
“Matt’s a mobile tall forward and we’re keen to bring him and Michael Apeness (20) on while Pav’s around,” Lyon said.
“Matt’s an incredibly hard trainer and he’s in our top-10 players in our three-kilometre time trials. Since he’s been at the club he’s put on 10 kilograms and has improved in leaps and bounds.
“There’s plenty of improvement in him still, and if he’s up to it, he’ll pick himself.”
Taberner has adapted well to his move to Western Australia after being picked up in the 2012 rookie draft from the Victorian country town of Bright, which has a population of slightly more than 2000.
He played four games in 2013 and added another nine last year, including the Dockers’ two finals games, and he has since been promoted to the club’s primary list.
He earned his first finals campaign after breakout matches against Hawthorn, Brisbane and Port Adelaide where he booted four goals in the final three home-and-away rounds of the season. Lyon said the Dockers would play a more attacking brand of football this season and this would lead to higher scoring.