Morabito happy on the big stage
Fremantle youngster Anthony Morabito says he is comfortable playing on the big stage as he takes the momentum of a NAB AFL Rising Star nomination into his first finals series.
Morabito, who has played 21 games in his debut season, earned the final nomination for this year’s award after playing an important role in Fremantle’s six-point win over Carlton on Friday night.
The 18-year-old stood up in the finals-like clash, winning 18 possessions and kicking a crucial goal in the last quarter to help earn a home elimination final for his side.
The No.4 pick from last year’s NAB AFL Draft, Morabito said he wasn’t daunted by the prospect of playing in finals, and Fremantle’s young players would be ready for Hawthorn on Saturday.
“Last week for us felt like as if we were going into playing our first final, [so] I think it’s taken the edge of this week,” Morabito said from Fremantle Oval on Monday.
“I felt comfortable going out there.
“Now we’ve got that little bit more experience that we know they’re (Hawthorn) going to come at us and we’ll just go back at them equally as hard.
“Like any game, we really want to go in there and go head to head with them.
“If we play to our strengths we’re going to be just as hard to beat as they will be, especially with the crowd behind us here at home.”
Morabito has averaged 13 possessions a game this season, contributing consistently in the midfield without enjoying a standout performance.
The strong-bodied youngster was rested against Hawthorn in round 21 and said he, and the team, had benefited enormously from the week off.
“It felt amazing coming into the [Carlton] game, it’s the best I’ve felt all year,” he said.
“We feel if we come into the game playing the brand of footy we want to put on the park we’re going to be pretty hard to stop. I think we’ve shown that against some of the top teams this year, especially at home with the crowd.
“The game two weeks ago wasn’t a true indication of where our side’s at, at this stage of the year.”
Morabito said it was good to be recognised alongside teammate Nat Fyfe, who
was nominated for this year’s award following round nine, and 2008 winner Rhys Palmer.
He backed second-year Swans midfielder Dan Hannebery, who has averaged 20 possessions in 19 games this season, to take home the Ron Evans Medal on Wednesday night.