Paul Ahern took another big step in his return from a knee injury on Saturday, impressing the coaches in a defensive role during a VFL practice match.
Drafted in 2014, Ahern is yet to play an AFL game following two knee re-constructions, but after a patient recovery process his luck is beginning to turn.
“His decision-making and skill execution, particularly by foot, is one of his real strengths and key attributes,” VFL Senior Assistant Coach Gavin Brown said.
“It’s good to see him running around, and he would have been really excited to get going out there and playing.”
Ahern made several telling runs out of the back half and hit up leading forwards in a strong first outing, with another opportunity to get some valuable run in the legs against Coburg this week.
Also impressing in the back half was Majak Daw, the big man continuing his transition from the forward half during the pre-season.
“I just thought Maj was exceptional, in the air in particular, but he was also really good setting up around stoppages, and he was instrumental in coming forward and defending,” Brown said.
“He looks really comfortable down there at times. He’s really embraced it (the move).
“He’s had to learn a hell of a lot in one pre-season, but he’s taken to it really well.”
Daw has had the opportunity to put his learnings to the test, playing in a pair of intra-club matches and the opening JLT Community Series match, and will continue to be given the chance to work on his craft.
“He is taking the right steps to becoming a good solid defender,” Brown said.
“Obviously there are a few areas he has to keep working on, as everyone does, but it’s quite promising.”