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Buti's Call: Delisted by Lyon, ex-Docker now shapes as grand final hero

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24.09.2019

This Saturday’s AFL grand final between Richmond and Greater Western Sydney will have its dramas, epic moments, hard luck stories and fairy tales.

One fairytale has already been half written.

Star Collingwood midfielder Adam Treloar struggled to make an impact in the prelim final against Matt de Boer.Credit:Getty Images

That is the story of GWS tagger supremo Matt de Boer.

Only three years ago his AFL career looked over when the Fremantle Dockers - in their wisdom - delisted the then 26-year-old at the end of 2016.

De Boer, an All-Australian under 18 in 2008, was drafted by Fremantle in the 2009 rookie draft at number 19 and was soon elevated to the senior list. He debuted in round 6 of 2009 in the Western Derby and would go on to play another 137 games for the Dockers, mainly as a defensive forward, including the 2013 grand final loss to Hawthorn.

At Fremantle, the 189cm de Boer was renowned for his natural athleticism and strong commitment to training and was also considered one of the elite endurance runners at the club, always placing in the top bracket of performers at the club's time trials over 3,000 to 4,000 metres. But he was also quick off the mark and deceptively strong in the upper body.

After playing 19 games in 2015, the year the Dockers finished as minor premiers, he fell out of favour with coach Ross Lyon, playing only four AFL senior games in 2016. But testament to his character, he remained positive and played a great 2016 WAFL finals series for eventual premiers Peel Thunder, averaging more than 30 disposals and 10 tackles.

But at season’s end he was potentially on the AFL scrap........

© Brisbane Times