Dockers skipper Pavlich hails Morabito return (The West)
Anthony Morabito. Pic: Getty Images

Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich has praised the maturity and resilience of Anthony Morabito after the powerhouse youngster made a successful return from his third knee reconstruction at the weekend.

Morabito got through his first game in 18 months for Peel Thunder. Pavlich said his return, the fact he had pulled up well and his demeanour around the club had been a huge boost for the Dockers ahead of their season opener against Collingwood at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.

“It is amazing what adversity and hard times puts you through and makes you grow. Anthony has obviously had the best part of three years going through that adversity and challenging times. To see him come out the other side as a person as well rounded and mature and better off, is a testament to him and the footy club support for him,” he said.

Pavlich also praised the condition of fellow veteran Aaron Sandilands ahead of the season, all but ruled Zac Clarke out of Friday night’s match, said he expected Nathan Fyfe to play against the Magpies and hosed down talk that he might join Sandilands in a contract extension in the coming days.

“This is hand on my heart honestly. It is not something I have focussed on whatsoever. I am actually pretty busy with my job as a footballer and captain of ther Fremantle Dockers and outside of footy with a young family,” he said. “My entire time and energy has been on that. It (the contract) is not something I have discussed with anyone.”

Sandilands had signed a one year contract extension last week, on the same day that coach Ross Lyon committed to a two year extension.

Fyfe, who has missed Fremantle's last two pre-season matches, joined teammates for training this morning at Fremantle Oval.

Pavlich did confirm Peter Sumich’s assessment that he had completed his best pre-season in three years.

“It certainly helps when you are not recovering from surgery and you are able to get out there and train basically every session. I have been very fortunate in that sense that my pre-season has gone that way – out there and training a lot more than in the last two pre-seasons,” he said.

“Particularly last year coming off of four lots of surgery at the end of 2012 and having ongoing issues with the body.”

“I knew it was going to be a battle but was confident I would be able to perform to a level that was acceptable but I found out early on that I was still battling with a couple of injuries so we went back in.”

“It is just nice to be as fit as I can be heading into the season.”

Pavlich said the Dockers were confident of a result against Collignwood provided they brought their effort based game to the table on Friday after a “pretty solid” pre-season.

“We have had the majority of the guys that played in the finals series last year get through the majority of the work and play in the pre-season games,” he said. “Generally speaking we have got out of it what we needed to and we are looking forward to the season.”

The West Australian

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