Fremantle Dockers wingman Karl Worner happy to play football even at Peel Thunder after tough COVID-19 years

Headshot of Mitchell Woodcock
Mitchell WoodcockThe West Australian
Peel Thunder's Karl Worner escapes two South Fremantle opponents.
Camera IconPeel Thunder's Karl Worner escapes two South Fremantle opponents. Credit: Michael Farnell

Karl Worner’s start to his career may have been delayed, but the blonde speedster has is making up for lost time as he uses his tough introduction to life on an AFL list as an opportunity to grow.

The Fremantle wingman from the Oakleigh Chargers is just happy to be playing football - albeit at WAFL level - after two years of rarely getting the chance.

The Dockers’ only rookie selection at last year’s draft, Worner only joined his teammates in February because of Western Australia’s border restrictions.

But judging from his form to start the WAFL season, it’s like he was at the AFL club all summer.

Worner is averaging 23 disposals for Peel Thunder and climbed to the ranks of travelling emergency for Fremantle in their win over Geelong in round seven as he pushes for a senior debut.

“Those first three months in Melbourne were pretty tough as I just wanted to get over here, but I think I’m starting to find my feet now,” Worner said.

“Not playing too much footy over the last few years because of COVID set me back a little bit.

“It’s pretty much like starting a new job. You’ve got to work your way in and learn everything, especially with them starting the season.

“It was a bit tough at times, just knowing where to go, but I look at it now and I feel like I’ve really grown as a person.

“Just walking into that new environment as a 19-year-old, but being able to learn off others, I love it.”

While an AFL debut is the aim, Worner said he had plenty to work on at the lower level.

“I’m trying to work on my craft and I’ve still got a fair way to go,” Worner said.

Karl Worner didn’t begin training at Fremantle until February.
Camera IconKarl Worner didn’t begin training at Fremantle until February. Credit: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

“I’m loving playing for Peel at the moment and playing consecutive games at the moment. Getting some continuity in because I haven’t had that for the past two years.

“For the rest of the year I am looking to build some form and hopefully an opportunity comes around the corner, but if it doesn’t it doesn’t and if it does, I’ll be ready.”

The Victorian could not have arrived at the Dockers at a better time, with the club launching out of a six-year slump and looking to return to finals.

“It’s absolutely buzzing. It’s everything I wished for coming into a football club,” Worner said.

“Especially coming in late, everyone was so welcoming and I’ve just absolutely loved it so far.

“It’s quite a young group, quite a talented group. So we’re just sort of feeding energies off each other and learning off each other.”

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