Van Berlo upgraded
Rookie Fremantle defender Jay van Berlo will be rewarded for a breakthrough AFL season with elevation to the club’s senior list despite missing this year’s finals campaign.
Van Berlo, who turns 22 on Saturday, was consistent in defence this season, playing 18 matches, acting largely as a shut-down specialist.
He was dropped for the club’s two finals despite collecting a serviceable 17 disposals in the round 22 victory over Carlton – a result that guaranteed Fremantle a home final against Hawthorn.
Dockers football operations general manager Chris Bond admitted at the time that it had been a tough selection call to drop van Berlo, who made way for the incoming Jesse Crichton, Ryan Crowley and fellow defender Alex Silvagni.
The club’s decision to reward van Berlo for next season follows two years on the club’s rookie list.
It continues changes to the primary list with fellow rookies Silvagni and Matthew de Boer having also been previously upgraded as part of new contracts.
A brother of Adelaide’s Nathan van Berlo, the defender was taken at pick No.62 in the 2009 rookie draft on the back of a superb WAFL season, having won West Perth’s best and fairest award as a 19-year-old in 2008.
He has now played 22 AFL games after managing four matches late in 2009.
Veteran Des Headland will meet with club officials today for his end-of-season review in a discussion expected to decide his AFL future.
The out-of-contract Headland will be 30 at the start of next season and is coming off three years ruined by injury.
He has played just 20 of a possible 68 matches in that period.
The former Brisbane premiership player was a late inclusion for last Friday night’s semifinal defeat to Geelong at the MCG in his first game since round four following knee surgery.
However, he played just five minutes before suffering a grade two medial ligament knee injury, ruining his chances of having an impact.
He is expected to wear a brace for up to six weeks, but will not require further surgery.
Experienced defender Steven Dodd also faces several nervous days with his review due at the end of this week.
The 27-year-old played just three AFL games this year after failing to miss a match last season.