Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir has praised Michael Walters for learning a valuable lesson from last week’s outburst against Richmond, saying the star forward’s composure was the key to him kicking three match winning goals against Melbourne.
Just days after cameras captured him swearing in the direction of the coach’s box while struggling to have any impact as a small forward, Walters showed his class with a brilliant performance during the 14-point win in Cairns.
“He bounced back really well,” Longmuir said.
“I think his frustration got the better of him last week and it’s hard to execute your game when you’re frustrated and your emotions boil over. He was a lot calmer tonight and committed to playing his role for the team which he did exceptionally well.”
The 6.11 (47) to 4.9 (33) win lifted Fremantle to 6-9 and put a massive dent in Melbourne’s finals hopes.
Walters was determined to make a statement on the field and he made a point of addressing the issue after the game too.
“It’s obviously been a big week for myself mentally with what happened last week,” Walters said.
“There was no intentions to the coach whatsoever. I want to knock that on the head.”
Adam Cerra had 30 disposals and kicked an extraordinary goal in another starring effort. Andrew Brayshaw and Caleb Serong continued their strong form, while Nat Fyfe and David Mundy’s skill and experience stood out.
Taylin Duman injured his ankle after an impressive first half in defence and is in doubt for Saturday’s game against North Melbourne at Metricon Stadium.
Longmuir said Cerra’s game and goal typified everything he wanted from his players.
“It was my goal of the year. We definitely needed it at the time,” Longmuir said.
“He’s a case in point – the ability to take the game on and trust your own ability and play to your strengths. We’ve seen Cerra, Brayshaw, Serong, all of our players really, grow throughout the year to be able to push the limits on what they can do with the ball. We’re only going to get better the more we play together and the more we trust our skills and trust our strengths.”