After a minor injury set Anthony Morabito’s initial WAFL return back a few weeks, the exciting Freo midfielder showed he was still on track for an AFL comeback with a solid display for Peel last Saturday.

Playing just 60 minutes of game time, the 21-year-old managed to collect 19 disposals, five marks and a goal in the Thunder’s loss to Claremont.

Freo assistant and senior development coach Simon Lloyd was pleased with Morabito’s outing at Bendigo Bank Stadium, especially his work at the stoppages.

“Peel was beaten by 12 goals against Claremont, but they actually did very well in stoppages and clearances,” he said.

“A lot of that was driven by Anthony playing in there. He played some very good football in close.

“It does take a while to find your feet, and for him to be able to come back into footy and assume that role at WAFL League level is good.”

Lloyd said Morabito’s speed and power was impressive, and added that he could only get better as he gradually gained more game time over the coming weeks.

“Anthony’s working very diligently with our sports science team, led by Jason Weber, and he’s really focussing on midfield work with Michael Prior and Mark Stone,” Lloyd said.

“He’s just getting his head back into football again after being out for such a long period of time, and it’s really exciting for him and the club.”

South Australian recruit Cameron Sutcliffe continued his solid WAFL form with another good effort for East Fremantle which earned him Freo’s WAFL Player of the Round Award.

Lloyd shared his WAFL notes from all of Freo’s players who played in round 9 of the state competition over the weekend.

West Perth 13.7 (85) def by East Fremantle 12.15 (87)

Cameron SUTCLIFFE (EF) – 16 disposals (13 kicks, 3 handballs), 6 marks, 1 goal Cam played on the wing with spells as a high forward. He showed a good work-rate to get to contests and he displayed poise when in congestion and in open play. Cam’s efforts helped lead East Fremantle’s comeback and that was through his ball use and strong work rate. He had six inside-50s and a goal, and a nice goal-assist in the fourth quarter.

Sam MENEGOLA (EF) – 12 disposals (10 kicks, 2 handballs), 1 goal
Sam’s ball use was good and he showed some strong efforts with his contested ball, particularly in the third quarter. He kicked a big goal in the last quarter to help East Fremantle in a tight game. While his contested ball in the third quarter was good, we need more consistency from Sam, but he is tracking well.

Peel Thunder 12.5 (77) def by Claremont 22.21 (153)

Tom SHERIDAN (PT) – 25 disposals (8 kicks, 17 handballs), 2 goals
Tom played on the wing. He collected it 25 times, which was a positive, but he had eight kicks and 17 handballs, so we have to get that kick-to-handball ratio right. It was great to see him take the opposition on with run and carry to kick a long goal and he also kicked a goal from a 50m set shot. He ran hard for four quarters and we were really happy with his effort.

Jesse CRICHTON (PT) – 16 disposals (5 kicks, 11 handballs)
Jesse played in a variety of roles, including half-back, wing and mainly midfield in the second half. He was assigned the task on Ian Richardson early. Jesse’s overall intensity was better and he showed a lot more effort and desire to run for handball receives. He seemed to demand the ball a lot more, which is what we expect from Jesse.

Peter FAULKS (PT) – 11 disposals (3 kicks, 8 handballs), 5 marks
Peter played in a defence that came under a lot of pressure with the amount of inside-50 entries. He tried to play in front of his opponent and took five marks. The positives in Peter’s game were his effort and attack on the ball and he looked to provide some rebound out of the 50.

Anthony MORABITO (PT) – 19 disposals (15 kicks, 4 handballs), 5 marks, 1 goal Anthony got through his WAFL return well, playing 60 minutes which was characterised by his speed and power. A real positive was that he was able to accumulate 19 possessions in the game time that he had and he looked strong around stoppages.

Nick SUBAN (C) – 17 disposals (13 kicks, 4 handballs), 4 marks
Nick played on the wing and had a short stint at half-forward. Overall, he used the ball efficiently and had a solid game. What we are looking for from Nick is for him to take the game on and play with some more risk and dare.

East Perth 17.8 (110) def South Fremantle 15.8 (98)

Jayden PITT (EP) – 16 disposals (11 kicks, 5 handballs)
Jayden played a majority of the game on the wing and had a few stints at half-forward. The positives from his game were that he showed a passage where he committed to a strong ground-ball effort and used the ball intelligently on entry into the forward 50. East Perth gave him some inside-mid experience, which is really good for Jayden.

Hayden CROZIER (EP) – 11 disposals (7 kicks, 4 handballs), 2 goals
Hayden started really well, kicking two early goals and he had a hand in the third one shortly after. Both of his goals were on the run through strong effort, which allowed him to receive and carry the football. We were really pleased with his finishing and ball use. Hayden didn’t sustain that run and effort for the entire game, so we expect him to get back to his consistent four-quarter efforts this week.

Haiden SCHLOITHE (SF) – 19 disposals (8 kicks, 11 handballs), 5 marks, 5 tackles, 1 goal
Haiden played a run-with role as an inside midfielder. We were really pleased with the job that he did. He beat his direct opponents and demonstrated creative handball. One of his strengths was that he applied direct physical pressure at every stoppage and accumulated ground-ball stoppages. His offensive spread was a feature throughout the game. Steve Grace watched Haiden and said it was a mature performance for a young player.

Swan Districts 20.16 (136) def Subiaco 15.10 (100)

Michael WALTERS (SD) – 13 disposals (10 kicks, 3 handballs), 5 marks, 4 goals
It was a game of contrasting halves for Michael. While he worked hard in the first half, getting involved in chains of ball movement, he turned the game after half-time. From half-way into the third quarter, he was involved in some special passages of play. He ended up kicking four goals, had at least four goal-assists and ended up taking two hangers. Michael really moved well around stoppages and showed some good timing and clean ball handling. The defensive side of his game was also a real positive.

Jack ANTHONY (S) – 14 disposals (10 kicks, 4 handballs), 5 marks, 2 goals
Jack played both deep and high forward and constantly worked hard to present as a long-leading hit-up target. He attacked the ball at ground level and in the air with real purpose, and got to as many contests as he could. He made some good decisions when in position and ended up with two goals.

Subiaco Reserves – Nick Lower is a Perth listed player but played for Subiaco reserves because the Demons had the bye.

Nick LOWER (S) – 24 disposals (16 kicks, 8 handballs), 6 marks
Nick played as an inside-mid and worked himself into the game well. His clearance work at stoppages was a highlight and his hands were very good in congestion. His off-ball run was also very strong. One of Nick’s strengths is his body work at stoppages and winning the contested ball, and he showed that on the day. It will be good for him to get some continuity in his game.

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