Libba's fine AFL start no surprise: Eade - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Libba's fine AFL start no surprise: Eade

Sam Lienert 03/04/2011 07:04:59 PM Comments (0)

Western Bulldog father-son draftee Tom Liberatore's smooth transition into AFL football is no surprise to his coach Rodney Eade.

Eade said the 18-year-old son of former club great Tony Liberatore had shown consistently throughout the pre-season the attributes that have made him one of the Dogs' best in both of the first two rounds.

"What he's done over the pre-season games is what he's done these two weeks," Eade said.

"He's just so consistent, he can win the ball, he can win his own footy.

"People of my generation and older think the game's a bit sissy, that players chip it around.

"The game's as tough as it's ever been and you still need to be able to win your own ball.

"He's got a great ability to do that, as well as his vision when he's got the ball."

Liberatore is taller, quicker and kicks longer than his diminutive dad, who played 283 games for the Bulldogs and won the 1990 Brownlow Medal.

But his playing style has definite echoes of his famous father, most notably his fierce tackling and willingness to charge into a pack and dish out a handball.

Both came to the fore in the Dogs' big win over Brisbane at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Eade said Liberatore had clearly boosted the club's midfield, although he cautioned he was unsure how the youngster's body would stand up to the fatigue of a long season.

But he has already convinced the coach of one thing.

"He's the best No.21 we've had for a long time," Eade said, in a cheeky dig at Jason Akermanis, who spent four seasons wearing that number for the Bulldogs, before being sacked after a fallout with teammates last year.

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