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Tom Liberatore working on regaining respect

Ben Collins  December 17, 2012 3:52 PM

AFL 2012 Training - Western Bulldogs 281112

Tom Liberatore is making amends on the training track

He's seems really committed to sort of getting the respect back of the group
TOM LIBERATORE is training strongly and is determined to regain the trust of his teammates, says Western Bulldogs teammate Daniel Giansiracusa.

Liberatore served a season-ending, club-imposed four-week suspension after police found him intoxicated and in possession of an ecstasy tablet in the King Street nightclub precinct in the early hours of Sunday August 5.

As part of his penalty, the 20-year-old was also banned from the club and was employed in short-term work.

It was an unfortunate finale to what had been an impressive season from the tough left-footed midfielder, who averaged 20 disposals and finished seventh in the Dogs' best and fairest. (He would have challenged for a top-four berth if not for his late-night escapade.)

Giansiracusa is confident Liberatore will heed the lesson and be better for the experience.

"He's going really well," Giansiracusa said at Whitten Oval on Monday.

"Obviously it was a bit of a wake-up call for him. He went through some pretty tough times in that four-week period and then over the break, but he's back, he's training really well and he's fitted back into the group fantastically well.

"He's seems really committed to sort of getting the respect back of the group. He's a great player and he's going to come through it well."

Another Dog who continues to impress is mature-age rookie Brett Goodes.

"He's comfortable with the group because he was obviously the [club's] welfare manager," Giansiracusa said.

"He's got amazing skills, 'Goodesy', and he's really dedicated. Obviously he's rapt to get an opportunity and he's built some relationships with the boys and he's just fitted in nicely. It's been a pretty smooth transition."

The same can be said of the work of the Dogs' part-time specialist coaches: Geelong premiership pair Matthew Scarlett and Cameron Mooney. Asked what they have added in recent weeks, Giansiracusa said: "Just their experience. They played in successful sides."

Entering the final year of his contract with the Bulldogs, Giansiracusa reinforced that it would likely be his last season. However, he added, "you never say never".

His expectations for his potential swansong could be boiled down to one word: improvement.

"We've gone from (being) the third-oldest list to the third-youngest within a couple of years. We have to make sure we're showing improvement, not only (on) game day but from session to session," he said.

"That's important, that's how you make progress."