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  1. #1
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    Tony Liberatore says son Tom is a better player than him

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    OF the myriad assessments — statistical and subjective — hoisted around Tom Liberatore, two stand out.

    Asked to elaborate on the qualities that have carried his son to elite standing, and the 100-game milestone against Sydney on Friday night, Tony Liberatore paused.
    “How do you sum up Tom as a player?” Liberatore Sr mused.
    “He has a real understanding of the team aspect, the team-first mentality and a real hunger for playing for the team.
    “For Tom, football is not about marks, kicks and handballs and if you go back through your own personal career, there would have been times when it was.

    “There are players who get the ball inside 50 and their eyes light up straight away. Tom’s not like that. He’s more likely to give it off.

    “Tom’s greatest quality, his greatest attribute, is that he’s the perfect team player.”
    High praise, indeed.

    But then, without hint of prompting, Liberatore Sr proffered: “I’ll tell you one thing about Tom. He’s better than me.”

    Given his standing as a Brownlow medallist and reverence as an athlete who wrung as much as possible from nature’s gifts, his observations are instructive.

    By any objective measure, Tom Liberatore, 24, has moulded himself into the prototype of the ideal modern footballer.
    Champion Data this week compared Liberatore to Joel Selwood, Nat Fyfe and Josh Kennedy after their first 99 games.
    The figures proved what Bulldogs supporters have long known — Liberatore is a competitive beast.
    While he averages fewer disposals per game than each of those club captains, he still returns an impressive 22.


    He edges Selwood in contested possessions and clearances, and there is a palpable sense there is more to come.
    Regarded as media-shy and unorthodox to the point of being undefinable, Liberatore happily defies convention.
    Ask many of his teammates to expand on what makes the midfielder tick and the response is likely to be a smile and a shake of the head.

    As evidenced by off-season activities in Asia, where he rucked briefly for the Vietnam Swans while sporting a “Friar Tuck” hair cut and knocking back the occasional beer, Liberatore marches to the beat of a different drum.

    “Tom does his own thing away from football,” his father said.
    “Media is not his cup of tea. I don’t think you’ll see him doing many interviews.”


    Proud dad Tony Liberatore with son Tom after the Western Bulldogs defeated Sydney in last year’s Grand Final. Picture: Getty Images

    Liberatore Sr played 283 games for the Western Bulldogs but, for all his hard-earned achievements — and there were plenty — he gives the impression the feats of his son mean much more.
    “For Tom to be able play footy from a young age with Mitch Wallis and (them) to be able to play AFL together is great,” he said.

    “He gets more enjoyment from playing with his mates than personal accolades.

    “Everyone understands how he plays, what he does inside, but I also think he’s an elite kick.”
    Recruited from Calder Cannons under the father-son rule in 2010, Liberatore made his mark quickly.
    Established as a leading inside player by 2013, he won the Bulldogs’ best-and-fairest the following season.


    A knee injury wrecked his 2015 before the glories of last season, highlighted by drought-breaking premiership and, individually, an AFL/VFL record 19 tackles against Melbourne in Round 8.

    The 2015 injury setback left Liberatore, a student of American literature, with time to ponder.

    “I learnt a fair bit from dealing with new injuries, it was a massive learning year,” he recalled.
    “It was a completely different year of footy to what my first four years were like before I did my knee.”
    Premierships: SENIORS - 1898,99,1900, 1908, 1913, 1919-20, 1923-24, 2014, 2016 (10 total) AFL 1954, 2016. RESERVES - 1938, 1945, 1962, 1988, 1994, 1998 (6 total) UNDER 19S - 1954 (1 total) Other Premierships - Championship of Victoria 1924 (1 total); VFL Night Series 1963-64, 1967, 1970 (4 total) Preseason Cup, 2010 (total 1)

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  3. #2
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    Re: Tony Liberatore says son Tom is a better player than him

    If I could have a drink with any player on our current list Libba would be my first picked
    Western Bulldogs: 2016 Premiers

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  5. #3
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    Re: Tony Liberatore says son Tom is a better player than him

    Libba is quality and is so important to our team.
    Western Bulldogs 2016 AFL Premiers
    Cede Nullis (Yield To None)

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