Sandilands unconcerned by winless pre-season
Fremantle ruckman Aaron Sandilands says winning will remain a secondary consideration in the club’s final pre-season hit-out against West Coast this Saturday.
Fremantle is yet to notch a win this pre-season following its 30-point loss to the Western Bulldogs in Bunbury, and it will close its preparations with a NAB Challenge derby against West Coast this Saturday.
Sandilands, who made an impressive return with limited ground time against the Bulldogs, said tuning up for a round one clash with the Brisbane Lions would be the side’s main focus on Saturday.
“We haven’t had [a win] so far but we’ve been trying a lot of different things,” Sandilands said from Fremantle Oval on Wednesday.
“You go out there every game to try and win, but it’s not the be-all and end-all [during pre-season].
“We’ve got a lot of game time into some of our younger players, which we’re going to need over the course of the season.
“They’re definitely going to benefit from playing in the last month of the NAB Cup.”
Midfield stars Stephen Hill and David Mundy are set to play their first pre-season matches in the Fremantle Oval clash, and Sandilands said the crucial runners would be a welcome addition.
“They’re two very important players for us and it’d be good to get a little bit of game time into them before round one,” he said.
“(Mundy) is one of our main leaders on the field and Stephen Hill provides so much run and carry with the ball for us.”
This week’s match will be Sandilands’ third of the pre-season, after shortened runs against the Eagles and Bulldogs. He said he was happy with his preparation and was 100 per cent fit leading into the season.
“I’m really happy with the way my preparation’s gone,” the three-time All Australian said.
“I had a pretty big blowout last weekend and I’ll have similar sort of game time this weekend, hopefully. That should put me in good stead for round one.
“I’m completely over my foot issues. It’s something that throughout the season you’ve got to monitor, but at this point in time, I’ve got no soreness in my feet.”
Sandilands, who has continued to work on his contested marking and forward play this pre-season, backed understudy Zac Clarke to make an impact in his third AFL season.
The 20-year-old has enjoyed an impressive pre-season and Sandilands said he was ready to add significantly to his eight senior games.
“He’s had a great summer, put on a fair amount of weight and been put on the wing just to learn more running positions,” the 28-year-old said.
“Over the last three weeks, he’s taken the game on, getting a fair bit of possession and showing his improvement. If he gets an opportunity, he can definitely play a lot of footy for us this year.
“I think he can be damaging wherever he goes because he’s so athletic – his running ability is huge. Now that he’s put on size. he should be able to use his body a bit more as well.”