Young impress team skipper

Flaherty said leading the youngest side in the competition was a great challenge, given a number of young players were on Fremantle’s list.

He said despite being an accomplished leader on and off the field, he was absorbing just as much information and knowledge from them.

‘As more and more games get played this year, we will get a few of these young players improving and showing leadership themselves, which is what we need,’ he said.

‘This young group has taught me the importance of staying positive and the way they keep cracking in has been great and it sets a great example.

‘One great example was the performance of Cruize Garlett, who rebounded from a drop in form and fitness to dominate for Peel in the Reserves.

‘The former North Melbourne midfielder led from the front against Claremont in a League comeback with 30 disposals in a manner which sent a strong message throughout the club for players to seize the opportunity.’

Flaherty said there were opportunities for the whole list.

He is adamant the Thunder’s strong work ethic on the track will translate into on-field success.

While the Thunder are yet to register a win this season, Flaherty said the side had shown the ability to compete with far more experienced sides, but consistency was the next step for the young group.

‘We have to stay positive and keep competing each week to try and get our first win,’ he said.

‘During the week at training we are keeping upbeat and working hard on the track.’

In a similar mould to West Coast skipper Darren Glass, Flaherty’s on-field leadership in defence, combined with the arduous task of blanketing the opposition’s best forward, is challenging but Flaherty said balance was an asset.

‘I think on field leadership is where I am at my best, in terms of communicating structures, and while I think I started the year off a bit slow, I’ve been happy with my past two to three weeks,’ Flaherty said.

‘It can be tough work playing on key forwards when there is no pressure on the ball carrier and when we turn the ball over, but that’s footy and as a back six we need to support each other.’

Flaherty was confident that addressing discipline and ball use would go a long way towards success.