Not so fast for Dockers tyro
Fremantle’s Anthony Morabito is likely to start the home-and-away season building match practice in WAFL ranks as he continues his comeback from secondary knee surgery.
The 20-year-old was shielded from any potential collisions during yesterday’s training session at Fremantle Oval.
He spent some of the 90-minute session with the main group before running laps while teammates did drills focused on ball movement and reading the play around marking contests.
Morabito is expected to play a part in the latter stages of the NAB Cup in his first competitive hit-out since rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee 15 months ago.
However, the club’s ongoing plan to treat Morabito’s recovery cautiously suggests they could hold off on selecting him for round one.
He debuted in round one, 2010, and played 23 of a possible 24 matches that season before injuring his knee.
He has not played for his WAFL club Peel Thunder since being drafted at pick No.4 in 2009.
He had a clean-up of his knee during a visit to a Melbourne surgeon around Christmas. He had been sent for the check-up after experiencing repeated swelling in the joint.
Only Morabito, David Mundy (ankle) and Jonathon Griffin (knee) are certainties to miss Sunday’s opening round robin NAB Cup matches against West Coast and Essendon at Patersons Stadium.
Mundy, who is almost certain to miss the entire NAB Cup, made only a brief appearance at training yesterday. He jogged several slow laps dressed in a polo shirt before returning indoors.
Griffin extended himself far more in completing his own running schedule.
The 26-year-old is coming off minor surgery needed to combat a bout of tendonitis in his left knee and is likely to return in either round three or four of the pre-season competition.
Several key defenders remain in doubt for Sunday.
Luke McPharlin (ankle) limited himself to running laps yesterday and is unlikely to be available for this weekend.
Antoni Grover and Alex Silvagni also took no part in competitive drills after sitting out last Friday night’s intraclub match.
Suspended forward Michael Walters has not missed a training session since being dumped back to WAFL club Swan Districts 3 1/2 weeks ago.
Walters has also been doing extra weights and running each morning on top of training. The 21-year-old is trying to salvage his AFL career, with the Dockers having sent him back to Swans after he failed to meet their conditioning standards.