Morabito on the cards for Dockers return
Posted on 01/24/19 6:23 PM
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon isn’t one for footy romance – and that suits Anthony Morabito just fine.
Michael Johnson’s knee injury has boosted Morabito’s chances of earning a dream AFL recall for Saturday’s clash with Richmond at the MCG.
Johnson is set to miss between two to four weeks after injuring the medial ligament in his right knee during Sunday’s 40-point win over Adelaide.
Should the Dockers opt to replace Johnson with another key defender, then Alex Silvagni is their man.
But coach Ross Lyon has hinted he may go down a slightly different path, thrusting Morabito’s name into the selection mix.
Morabito hasn’t featured for the Dockers since his standout rookie campaign of 2010, when he made a name for himself as a hard-running wingman.
Three subsequent knee reconstructions threatened to derail Morabito’s AFL career, but he is on the verge of a senior recall following a string of impressive performances in the WAFL.
In eight appearances this season, Morabito has averaged 21 possessions and a goal per game for the struggling Peel Thunder.
Last week was Morabito’s finest performance, with the 22-year-old tallying 28 possessions and three goals to thrust his name into the selection mix.
Morabito has spent large periods of the WAFL season playing as a rebounding defender – another factor that will boost his chances of a recall in Johnson’s absence.
From the outside looking in, next week’s home game against Brisbane looms as the perfect opportunity to ease Morabito back into AFL ranks in front of a friendly crowd.
But Lyon says he’ll play Morabito once he’s ready – irrespective of where the match is played.
“Would it worry me where he plays? The romance of playing at home? Anywhere, anytime,” Lyon said.
“I don’t think it’s relevant to Anthony or ourselves where he plays. He would just love to play.
“He would play in Broome if he had to.”
The Dockers have taken an ultra conservative approach with Morabito this season, and it would come as no surprise if he’s given more time to fine tune his fitness and form in the WAFL.
Lyon is confident Hayden Ballantyne (hip), Chris Mayne (ankle) and Luke McPharlin (head) will be fit to take on the Tigers despite all three copping knocks in Sunday’s 40-point win over Adelaide.
The Tigers’ year is in freefall after Sunday’s loss to North Melbourne left them with a dire 3-8 record at the halfway point of the season.