Fremantle ruckman Lloyd Meek says it was “no surprise” Karl Worner starred on WAFL debut for Peel Thunder, with the resilience of the rookie-listed Docker impressing those at the AFL club.
Worner was taken by the Dockers with pick eight in last year’s rookie draft, but didn’t set foot in WA until late February, with border restrictions keeping him locked in Victoria.
The winger didn’t let the late start have a negative impact in his first competitive game in his new state, collecting 31 disposals and kicking two goals as the Thunder beat East Fremantle by 32 points on Good Friday.
After a blistering 10-disposal first quarter, Worner helped lift his side over the line late, playing a lead role in their seven-goal final term rampage.
Meek said Worner had earned plenty of respect among the players for working through the interrupted start and putting together a strong pre-season.
“Karl’s resilience has shone through and he is just such a good character,” he said.
“Obviously with the shut border when he was drafted from Victoria he had to spend a fair amount of time at home and that would have been really hard for him, but I haven’t heard him complain about it once.
“He has come in with a positive mindset, got to work and earned the respect of his teammates, and as you can see the reward comes after that.”
Meek, who has played two games for the Dockers this season but did not travel to Melbourne to face Essendon, said Worner’s debut showing was no shock.
“It is no surprise that he can come out and play like that and I am sure we are going to see so much more of him to come,” he said.
“He is a superstar with the way he goes about it.”
Peel midfield coach Mark Tilbury said the Oakleigh Chargers product had become an elite runner.
“He is probably the newest to the group both here and at Fremantle, but the way he has been able to slot in during the pre-season games, we can clearly see the potential he has got,” he said.
“He is a high-end runner, strong over head, generally kicks the ball very well, but we are most pleased for him the way he was able to finish off the game and hit the scoreboard as well.”