Fremantle youngster Matt Taberner has been rewarded for his performance in Round 22 with the second-last Rising Star nomination for season 2014.
The 197cm forward, who has been in and out of the Dockers line-up for his six games this season, broke back into the senior side in Round 21 to show career-best form in the run towards finals.
“I just need to keep producing for the team and working well in the forward group. And what comes of that, we’ll see.” – Matt Taberner
The 21-year-old had a breakout match in the Dockers’ big win over Brisbane on Sunday, collecting a career-high 22 disposals and kicking a goal.
Taberner also collected career-highs for marks (10) and inside 50s (6), showing his forward talents in the absence of senior forwards, Kepler Bradley and Scott Gumbleton.
Selected in the 2013 rookie draft after being overlooked in the previous National Draft, Taberner was elevated to the senior list and went on to play four games in his debut season last year.
The 10-gamer told afl.com.au his return game against the Hawks in Round 21 contributed to him playing well against the Lions the following week.
“I did take a lot of confidence out of that game – playing against the best, which Hawthorn have been over the last few years,” Taberner said.
“I’ve been given a few opportunities, which has been good. I’m just trying to bring that consistency to my football.”
With the finals just two weeks away, the athletic tall isn’t taking his opportunities for granted, with plenty of players vying for a call-up on the back of strong form all around the club.
“We do have a lot of competition for spots at this time of the year which is obviously pretty good for the team.
“I guess everyone’s a little bit on notice with that. I just need to keep producing for the team and working well in the forward group. And what comes of that, we’ll see.”
With only one round remaining, Taberner is Fremantle’s only Rising Star nomination for season 2014 and the club’s first since Zac Clarke received the nod in 2011.
He takes the Dockers to 28 nominations in the Award’s 21-year history, which includes two winners in Rhys Palmer (2008) and Paul Hasleby (2000).