Fremantle forward Matt Taberner expects Harris Andrews match-up, rules Luke Ryan out
When the siren sounds tomorrow afternoon at the Gabba, Matt Taberner is expecting close company from one of the best key defenders in the game.
Taberner floated All-Australian fullback Harris Andrews as his likely match-up, with their head-to-head battle looming as one of the must-watch spectacles.
In seven games this season, Taberner has booted 20 goals — finishing with multiple conversions in every match he’s played.
Andrews has overcome an early season form slump to reinstate himself as one of the best key defenders in the game, holding Port Adelaide spearhead Charlie Dixon goalless and finishing with a game-high 11 intercept possessions last weekend.
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Taberner kicked two goals when the sides met in round two last season, but the 27-year-old is also eager to bring his teammates into the game.
“They’ve got some really capable talls,” he said.
“Harris Andrews has been one of the best defenders in the game over the last couple of seasons so whether it be him, Marcus Adams or I expect Gardiner to maybe come in off concussion.
“I’ve got no doubt if we can get some supply, our six forwards are capable of scoring or we’ve got a lot of midfielders who can kick goals as well.
“We’ve had plenty of guys go through there during the season, I don’t think we’ve had a forward line that’s been the same six or seven each week.
“I think that’s the beauty of our team, we’ve got a lot of guys that play a very similar role and that can come in and we can trust them to do their job.
“Tomorrow will be no different, I think we’ve got some experience up there with myself, Michael Walters and Rory Lobb and young guys like Liam Henry.
“We just need to lead the way and I think if we can lead the way as tall forwards, myself and Rory, and bring these small guys into the game, we’ll look really dangerous.”
Taberner ruled out teammate Luke Ryan who will miss another week with a calf injury despite declaring himself a chance to play earlier in the week.
“Luke Ryan is still a little bit off,” he said.
“He was running laps at training. He’s come to the Gold Coast just to get around the other defenders and help out.
“I think earlier in the pre-season you would say our defence has got the most depth in terms of size and flexibility so no doubt it hurts having Chappy (Heath Chapman) out and Ethan Hughes who’s been a great player for us this season.
“I’m really confident with the guys coming in, Taylin Duman is hungry and can play a really good role, Tobe Watson was really good last week I thought so we’ll back those guys in.”
Taberner also revealed he sought out apprentice Josh Treacy who wasn’t included in Fremantle’s 30-strong travelling party despite kicking five goals in the WAFL last week.
“I spoke to him briefly and just reinforced that everything he’s doing is the right thing,” he said.
“He’ll play a really important role for the rest of the season I’m sure and he goes back with the right attitude, he was in a good mood.”
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