Doner Settling In Well With Wanderers
For Halifax Wanderers fans who have tuned in to the club’s opening three matches of the 2021 Canadian Premier League season, they’re already familiar with seeing Morey Doner working tirelessly on the right flank: the 27-year-old full-back has been one of the standouts for the east coast side after arriving from York United.
After three games played, he’s recorded more successful duels than any right-sided full-back in the league (20), made the most recoveries (19), and ties Fraser Aird for the most key passes (4).
The 27-year-old has sent eleven crosses into opposition boxes over the opening three games, and while none of them have led to a goal, he’s putting them into dangerous areas – something which helped him record four assists in his rookie campaign two years ago.
Speaking with media after the club earned its first point against Cavalry FC this weekend, the full-back touched on the start of his new chapter with Halifax.
For me, I’m just getting back to my best. In 2019, I had a really good season and for me I just want to be that best player every time I step onto the field. I think having these new surroundings with the Wanderers is helping me push on, and I want the best for everyone on the field.Morey Doner
The Collingwood-born defender had put in an iron man campaign for York9 FC (now York United) at The Island Games last year, and was expected to be part of the returning Nine Stripes contingent for 2021. He had even signed a contract extension for such in 2020, but after a tough campaign and chats with some of his teammates, he felt it was time for a new chapter and mutually terminated his contract with the side.
The defender departed from York United after having made 36 appearances under Jim Brennan, recording four assists and a memorable first professional goal. While he has a lot of fond memories with the team, he describes the bubble tournament from 2020 as somewhat of a low period, though he notes that this year’s bubble has been a much better experience:
I think last year was really difficult the first time we did that kind of thing. For me, in particular, I learned a lot about the way things were mentally and physically. Now it’s a lot better. Food is excellent, and the little details that the CPL has done for us is a big improvement, just to make us a lot happier over the four week period. I’m quite continent now, and the days are honestly flying by. It’s really good for us.Morey Doner
Eager for a fresh start after being announced by the side in January, Doner departed for Halifax three months early to settle in, meet his new teammates, and make the best of the prolonged Canadian offseason. His training ethic has allowed him to hit the ground running, putting in tireless performances and playing every possible minute of action for the east coast side so far.
Now it’s just about getting confidence every game. As you can see, things are going well right now, but I just want to be consistent: I want to give that performance every day, help the inexperienced guys, and help the team as best I can.Morey Doner
The club has been unfortunate not to have scored in any of its opening three matches, with Jamaican international Alex Marshall even seeing a bardown goal declined by the referee in the club’s midweek match against Valour. Doner says the squad has been working hard on final third movement and finishing, and suspects that there’ll be a domino effect when the first one goes in.
As you see the last few games, our last game in particular, we were the stronger side in my opinion and we had a ton of chances. Now, we just need to sharpen up in the final third and get the goal that we deserve. We’ve been working hard for it, and I think we deserve it.Morey Doner
On the opposite end of the pitch, the Halifax Wanderers have made the best of limited defensive options. They’ve just earned their first point over the past weekend without Jems Geffrard (international duty) and Peter Schaale (ankle injury) available for selection, with Mateo Restrepo playing as a centre-back – something Doner watched him do at at League1 Ontario level.
With the club now registering its first point under Mesut Mert whilst head coach Stephen Hart returns to Halifax for a minor medical procedure, the side now has the opportunity to rest up before taking on FC Edmonton on Saturday. With Doner having put in three big shifts, one suspects that the Common Goal member will be keen to rest up before tearing down the flanks again.
Morey has always been an attack-minded full-back, with the Wanderers deploying him perhaps even further up the pitch than he was with York9 FC (now York United). When we asked him about it, he states that he’s happy to do so.
I think that’s one of my strengths. Stephen has talked to me about being in the right position defensively as well, but I think the team is really understanding my role and getting me in the right spots to be successful. Now it’s just about everything clicking. Obviously, we have only three games together, so it’s been a little hesitation here and hesitation there, but I think going forward it’s going to be positive.More Doner
He isn’t the only addition to have looked sharp after having spent time with the Nine Stripes, with former York United Draft Pick Stefan Karajovanovic (who wasn’t picked up by the Ontario-based side) also impressing with his tricky footwork and a handful of shot opportunities during his first few professional appearances. Alongside Doner, the duo seem to be settling in well to life with the east coast side.
With the Wanderers now collecting their first point and having had an expected goal count of three, there are a lot of positives to take away from the opening matches of the club. With five more matches to go before the Halifax Wanderers hope to return to home grounds, Morey is eager to continue his solid start with the side and watch the 2020 CPL Finalists begin to collect results.
For me, to be involved with new faces in the CPL has taught me a lot. I’m just learning everyone’s personalities and getting to know everyone, so it’s been a great ride so far. I just want to get back to the Kitchen, get back to the Wanderers Grounds, and hear the fans, because I think it was one of the toughest places when I played at York to go to, so I hope it’ll be the best for us.Morey Doner
The Halifax Wanderers now find themselves without a midweek match for the first time in the tournament, getting a full week of rest before taking on an FC Edmonton side that sits in third place after three games played.
Whether the Wanderers will finally get their breakthrough goal remains to be seen, but one thing seems certain: thus far, Doner is settling in well with the east coast side, and one suspects that he’ll play a role in a few Wanderers goals to come this year.