Kane Cornes believe Fremantle Dockers have an ‘absolute ripper’ with in-and-out small forward Liam Henry

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Jackson BarrettThe West Australian
Fremantle Docker Liam Henry has received high praise from Kane Cornes.
Camera IconFremantle Docker Liam Henry has received high praise from Kane Cornes. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images

Kane Cornes believes Fremantle have an “absolute ripper” waiting on its fringes — and he’s played just three games this year.

The Port Adelaide legend has heaped praise on highly-touted small forward Liam Henry for his work-rate and decision making in the Dockers’ 31-point loss to Carlton on Saturday.

Henry had 15 disposals and kicked a goal in his first game back in the side since round eight, but produced an electric third quarter as the Dockers threatened to surge back into the game.

The former top-10 draft pick faced Adelaide in round one but was then dropped and didn’t feature again until the club’s Friday night thumping of North Melbourne, after which he was sent to Peel again.

But Cornes was high on the West Australian youngster, highlighting a passage of play late in the third term where Henry knocked a ball away from Nic Newman at half-back and just two disposals later, marked the ball across half-forward after a lung-busting dash down the wing.

“Everyone wants a small forward and I think Freo have found an absolute ripper — pick nine in the draft a few years ago. It’s Liam Henry,” Cornes said on Footy Classified.

“He did some amazing stuff on the weekend, (but it) went unnoticed because it was such a great win from Carlton.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 25: Liam Henry of the Dockers in action during the 2022 AFL Round 15 match between the Carlton Blues and the Fremantle Dockers at Marvel Stadium on June 25, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Camera IconDashing Docker Liam Henry put together an electric third quarter against Carlton. Credit: Michael Willson/AFL Photos/AFL Photos via Getty Images

“There’s him defending at half-back and this is the role of the modern small forward. You help out your defence and then you get on the move and you reset as a forward.

“I hadn’t seen this work-rate from him before and his ability to go forward, kick the ball inside 50 and have a physical presence.

“He took a really nice contested mark against Plowman and he did this like we haven’t seen.

“He’s a player to watch, Fremantle have found one, he’s an absolute ripper.”

Henry has played 23 games in two-and-a-half seasons for the Dockers — 25 less than draft classmate Caleb Serong and six less than forward-line regular Michael Frederick, who was taken 52 picks below him.

Henry was drafted alongside best 22 regulars Caleb Serong and Hayden Young in 2019.
Camera IconHenry was drafted alongside best 22 regulars Caleb Serong and Hayden Young in 2019. Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

The Claremont-product earned his recall after a 16-disposal, two-goal effort for Peel Thunder the week before, which included a WAFL goal of the year contender.

He has played six of the Thunder’s 10 league games this season for five goals.

Henry won out over Darcy Tucker for the wing spot vacated by the injured Blake Acres, while Ethan Hughes, who was also an option, was kept down back.

Tucker is now set for a stint on the sidelines after a hand injury in Peel’s loss to East Fremantle on Saturday in a boost to Henry’s job security.

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