Freo’s plan to stop bye jitters
The game after a bye has meant a loss for most teams thus far, but midfielder David Mundy is hoping Fremantle will not suffer the same fate, using its first bye of the season to complete extra recovery sessions.
Mundy said the 12-day break came at a good time for the players and rather than complete match simulation or extra training sessions, they used the weekend off to “recover and recuperate”.
The club has selected just 25 players so far in its 4-1 start to the season and coach Mark Harvey said the players needed the break after a bruising seven-point win over the Western Bulldogs on Anzac Day.
Fremantle has beaten Adelaide, North Melbourne and the Bulldogs the week after their respective byes, while the Sydney Swans and Gold Coast have also lost matches after byes.
Harvey said clubs would return from byes better the longer the season progressed.
“The first couple of weeks naturally everyone was trying to get some momentum, then all of a sudden it gets taken away from you with the bye,” the coach said on radio station 882 6PR.
“I think the deeper the bye comes up for teams the better off they’re going to be. Our players needed the break to be honest.”
Fremantle travels to the MCG to face Richmond on Saturday and Mundy was confident the focus on recovery during the bye would help the refreshed side avoid a sluggish return.
“It seems to be a pretty constant theme that teams coming off the bye might be a bit fumbly or a bit off early,” Mundy said from Fremantle Oval on Monday.
“The good thing about that so far is that we’ve had a big hand to play in that.
“We just took the time to really recover and recuperate after the first five weeks. We’ve had extra recovery type sessions and a bit of downtime.
“For a travelling team recovery’s a major part of our year … it’ll be a focus going through this week.”
Fremantle has beaten Richmond at the MCG just once in seven attempts, losing its last match against the Tigers, at Etihad Stadium, by 19 points in round 15 last season.
Mundy, who has averaged 28 possessions a game in a terrific start to the season, said the players wanted to play well in big games at the MCG.
“We’re looking to get over there and have the same energy and buzz before the game that we have here,” he said.
“The big finals are played at the MCG, so hopefully we can figure out how to play there well and play our style.”
Defender Greg Broughton, who missed the Anzac Day clash with back soreness, trained lightly on Monday night but is expected to return to face the Tigers, who beat the Brisbane Lions by 26 points last Saturday night.
Harvey said injured players Roger Hayden (foot) and Tendai Mzungu (knee), who both completed restricted training, were progressing well, as was Michael Barlow (leg).
“I spoke to (sports science manager) Jason Weber this morning and he said they’re coming up a little bit quicker than what we would have thought,” the coach said.
“Hopefully in coming weeks all these guys start to put pressure on guys in the side.”