Michael Walters closing on AFL return, says Swan Districts coach Greg Harding
Swan Districts coach Greg Harding believes Michael Walters is not far from a return to AFL football with the Fremantle Dockers.
The enigmatic forward, down for the much of the first three quarters in the Swans’ WAFL clash against Subiaco on Saturday, turned on his talents in the final term.
Walters had seven kicks and four marks, including a screamer over the top of the opponent who had his measure for much of the day, Kane Bloxsidge.
That led to the first of his three goals for the term and ensured the Swans, who began their fightback late in the third quarter, would come home strong.
And they did just that, finishing 36 points the better of the Lions as they kicked eight goals to one.
“He’s a special talent, we all know that,” Harding said of Walters, who recently rejoined the Dockers’ training squad on a full-time basis.
“It probably shows us he’s not too far away from a recall when he can produce those sorts of efforts.
“He was one of the boys that picked himself off the ground.
“He came to life on a beautiful day, he’s got the skills and he showed all of them today.
“Sometimes those talented players can be enigmatic and the mark of a really good player is one who can pick themselves up and will themselves on a contest.
“That was the thing with (Walters), he didn’t get lucky today, he just worked his way into the contest and found a way to get it done.”
Harding was rapt with the victory, but admitted that earlier in the third term, he thought the contest was all but over.
Subiaco had outscored the Swans by 10 goals to five from quarter-time and when Blake Broadhurst kicked his second goal at the 20-minute mark of the third term, the Lions’ lead was out to 29 points.
While Harding threw one last roll of the dice, Josh Roberts demonstrated the importance of a strong on-field leader.
“We threw multiple numbers behind the footy and it seemed to steady us for that four or five minute period,” he said.
“The momentum of the game shifted, our captain (Roberts) made a really good call on the field to go man-on-man at stoppages.
“We thought we were genuinely on our knees half way through the third (quarter), they really did have complete momentum.
“To pick ourselves up and have a comfortable win in the end was really surprising.”
* Thomas Lee (Claremont): Stepping up in the absence of Chad Jones, had nine marks and 11 kicks for a return of 6.1 against Peel.
* Shane Nelson (West Perth): Rookie midfielder in his third league game for the Falcons, showed great promise with 29 possessions and 14 marks.
* Paul Johnson (East Perth): 70-game AFL player again dominated the ruck taps, big factor in the Royals bright start to season.