Taberner ready for AFL debut

Bright boy Matt Taberner will make his AFL debut for Fremantle.
Bright boy Matt Taberner will make his AFL debut for Fremantle.

BRIGHT boy Matt Taberner is poised to make a stunning AFL debut for Fremantle this weekend just hours after being promoted onto the Dockers’ senior list.

Taberner, 19, was last night selected on an extended bench for Fremantle ahead of its clash with Melbourne at Patersons Stadium on Sunday.

The former Murray Bushranger was upgraded from the rookie list after Kepler Bradley was placed on the Dockers’ long-term injury list.

If selected, Taberner, who played at Myrtleford last year, will follow a trail blazed by former Saints Steve McKee and Guy Rigoni, who found themselves in the AFL straight out of the Ovens and Murray.

Taberner, who stands at 197 centimetres, was selected by Fremantle with pick 11 in last year’s AFL rookie draft after a stellar late season form burst with the Saints.

He also played four games for the Bushrangers as an over-age player.

Meanwhile, in other selection news, Albury’s Daniel Cross has been dropped by Western Bulldogs.

Facing a massive game against St Kilda tomorrow, the Bulldogs have left out their former club champion while Brownlow medallist Adam Cooney is also out of the side with a hamstring bleed.

Famous for his unflinching efforts in contested-ball situations, Cross, 30, is also a four-time runner-up in the Bulldogs’ best-and-fairest award.

He is averaging 21 disposals a game this year.

St Kilda, meanwhile, has been boosted by the return of three-time club champion Lenny Hayes.

In other news, Collingwood has recalled defender Martin Clarke for tonight’s clash with Sydney at the MCG.

The Pies were unable to regain Heath Shaw due to a back injury.

Premiership player Shaw was due to return from suspension this week but has been ruled out with what the club says is a minor lower-back complaint.

The Magpies have dropped midfielder Josh Thomas while the reigning premier Sydney welcomed Jed Lamb and dumped Tommy Walsh.