Fremantle to uncork mature vintage…again
Having been drafted at 22 and 24, Fremantle’s latest mature-age acquisitions could not have landed at a better club.
With first-year sensation Michael Barlow as the ultimate role model, Peter Faulks and Tendai Mzungu believe the sky is the limit.
The pair landed at the Dockers after trade week deals between Fremantle and the Gold Coast and are considered realistic chances to debut in Round 1, against Brisbane at the Gabba.
The athletic Faulks could find himself part of Freo’s first-choice defensive set-up following the departure of Chris Tarrant.
He was recruited from the VFL having spent 2007-08 on Sydney’s list without playing an AFL game.
He teamed up with defender Alex Silvagni for the Casey Scorpions in 2009 before moving to Williamstown. The pair could find themselves battling for the same position at Fremantle.
Faulks never gave up on his AFL dream despite his injury-troubled stint under Paul Roos and believes he is a far superior player now due to increased powers of concentration and mental strength.
“I honestly just don’t think I was ready for the expectations of an AFL footballer,” he said.
“I learnt so much though in my time there and I think that’s just really helped me in the last few years with my football career and moving forward.
“Once I was delisted from Sydney I didn’t want to go back and play local footy with mates and I enjoyed my two years playing in the VFL.
“It was a real hunger for myself; I had a burning passion to play at the highest level.”
Mzungu averaged 29 disposals a game on his way to winning Perth’s best-and-fairest this season.
He made his WAFL debut at 20, having played two years of colts football with amateur club Trinity-Aquinas.
Mzungu bypassed end-of-season celebrations with the Demons in favour of continuing to train in pursuit of his AFL dream.
He has been one of the early standouts in summer training and coach Mark Harvey believes he can play in the midfield.
“I’d been working pretty hard towards (the State Draft Combine), so I had a pretty good fitness base and once I got drafted I obviously wanted to stay pretty fit,” Mzungu said.
Fremantle development coach Simon Lloyd said Mzungu was one of the most professional recruits he had seen.
“We see Tendai as an exceptionally hard worker, and the big thing for me is he’s come in and made an impact early as well,” Lloyd said.