Taberner s finals dream
Matt Taberner following his Rising Star nomination. Pic: Ian Munro

Matt Taberner believes he still has work to do to be part of Fremantle's finals charge and is targeting a strong showing against Port Adelaide at Patersons Stadium on Saturday to earn his place in September.

Taberner became the first Docker to earn a Rising Star nomination since Zac Clarke in 2011 after he ran the Brisbane defenders off their legs in the Dockers' 58-point demolition at the Gabba on Sunday.

The 21-year-old Victorian's 22 disposals and one goal against the Lions came after a promising display against Hawthorn the week before.

Taberner said it was a surprise to receive the honour, but he had bigger priorities on his mind as Fremantle prepare to play the Power for a top-four spot and the crucial double chance.

The key forward has now played 10 games since being elevated from the rookie list last season and is feeling more comfortable with each appearance.

But he doesn't think he has cemented his place in the line-up.

"I haven't felt I've earned that yet," Taberner said. "Hopefully I can play well this weekend and see how it unfolds from there.

"But it's a really important game this weekend and I'm really focused on that."

The Power will come to town in hot form and off an eight-day break, having thrashed Carlton in Adelaide last Friday night.

Taberner said the Dockers were doing everything possible to recover from their six-day turn- around. The players completed extra recovery at Cottesloe Beach yesterday morning.

"I've personally never played against them (Port) but they're obviously a very, very good team," Taberner said.

"They're a really good running team so it'll be a tough task."

Taberner, who was overlooked in the 2011 draft, arrived at the club as an elite runner but has added about 8kg to his 198cm frame over the past two seasons.

Fremantle have been desperate to recruit a key forward to replace Matthew Pavlich when he retires and Taberner wants to be part of the solution.

"We've still got a few other forwards who are more than capable of playing at the top level," Taberner said. "I just need to keep working. Hopefully, long term I can secure a spot."

Taberner is hopeful Pavlich will be alongside him against the Power after the veteran missed the Lions game with a tight quad.

The 32-year-old will have to pass a fitness test at the club's main session tomorrow.

Taberner said his captain made his job much easier when he was out there, as did dynamic smalls Hayden Ballantyne and Michael Walters.

"He (Pavlich) has a presence and he's directing and helping with the younger guys down there," Taberner said. "He's a dangerous player and he normally takes the number one defender.

"It (Ballantyne and Walters) makes it really good for myself and the other tall forwards, they are so dangerous and quick.

"If we can bring it to ground they can cause a bit of havoc."

The West Australian

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