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Dockers look to fix out-of-form Taberner

3 minute read

Fremantle forward Matt Taberner is at risk of being dropped after his poor form continued in Friday night's 46-point loss to Melbourne.

MATT TABERNER of the Dockers celebrates a goal during the AFL match between the West Coast Eagles and the Fremantle Dockers at Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia.
MATT TABERNER of the Dockers celebrates a goal during the AFL match between the West Coast Eagles and the Fremantle Dockers at Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir has said he needs to get Matt Taberner and the team's other out-of-form stars "up and going" if they are to close the gap on the AFL's best teams.

The Dockers' top-four hopes hang in the balance after they suffered a 46-point loss to Melbourne at Optus Stadium on Friday night.

Fremantle scored just five goals for the match in the 12.13 (85) to 5.9 (39) loss, with Taberner held goalless from six disposals.

Taberner has kicked just three goals from his past four matches.

It's in stark contrast to his round five heroics against Essendon, when he booted 7.0 in a match-winning display.

Defender Griffin Logue was Fremantle's most dangerous spearhead against the Demons, with Taberner and Rory Lobb ineffective.

Taberner has been plagued by back and hamstring issues this season, and Longmuir is desperate to help the 29-year-old regain his form.

"We need to get him up and going," Longmuir said.

"He's not on his own though. We've got a few guys across the board that are down on their form and haven't recaptured the form they were in earlier in the season."

When asked if Taberner might benefit from a stint in the WAFL, Longmuir replied: "We'll have to weigh that up.

"We need to get Tabs going, so whatever is best for him, we'll look at."

Even if the Dockers beat the Western Bulldogs, West Coast and GWS in their remaining three matches, they will require some other results to fall their way in order to snare a prized top-four berth.

As it stands, Fremantle's form is well short of the top teams like Geelong, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, but Longmuir hasn't given up hope of closing the gap.

"We better be quick about it," Longmuir said.

"We need to be more consistent in games, we need to have more players executing their roles, and we need to be more consistent across the board in the contest.

"We're relying on too few at the moment."

Fremantle's ball movement has become stagnant in recent weeks, and the lack of clean supply has hurt the forward line.

"We've probably become a little bit too one-dimensional in bombing it in and hoping for either a pack mark or a crumb," Longmuir said.

"We need to get back to connecting at the right time and allowing our forwards to be dangerous.

"I feel like we've just become a little bit one-dimensional down there and it came out too easy on the back of that."

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