Fremantle recruit Jack Anthony believes the Dockers train harder than premier Collingwood.

The Magpies are renowned for their cutting-edge approach to preparation and football science and travel to Arizona for high-altitude pre-season training camps.

Fremantle sports science manager Jason Weber said Anthony had made big fitness gains since joining Fremantle’s pre-season program.

“He demonstrated last year from when he arrived in that November period to the pre-Christmas testing, he significantly improved himself,” Weber said.

“And he certainly has noted a difference in the way we approach things here compared to his former club.”

Weber said his program was focused on increasing players’ aerobic capacity ahead of this season because he believed rotations would drop with the reduction to three interchange players.

Anthony, who turns 23 later this month, moved to the Dockers through the pre-season draft after falling out of favour at Collingwood.

The versatile key-position player will have a long wait to prove his worth to his old team, with Fremantle’s only clash against the Magpies this season coming in Round 23.

While Anthony is set to play for the Dockers for the first time in next month’s NAB Cup double-header against Hawthorn and West Coast, Fremantle will have a depleted squad from which to choose. Michael Barlow and Hayden Ballantyne are certain to miss the February 13 triple-header at Patersons Stadium, formerly Subiaco Oval, in which the Dockers, Eagles and Hawks will play each other in 40-minute matches.

Anthony Morabito (knee) and Roger Hayden (foot) have had serious injuries, with Morabito ruled out for the year and Hayden unavailable until the second half of the season.

Barlow, on the comeback from breaking his leg against Port Adelaide in Round 14 last year, is still in restricted training and will be slowed again when he has a metal plate in his leg removed later this month.

The mature-age revelation is facing an uphill battle to play in any of the pre-season matches and is considered in doubt for Round 1.

Ballantyne, who missed Fremantle’s finals campaign with a fractured foot, is also unlikely to play much of the NAB Cup/NAB Challenge.

“It’s the type of injury that we want to be conservative with,” Weber said of Ballantyne. “He’s such an aggressive player with his change of direction, his speed, we need to make sure that’s right before he goes back.”

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