Dominant ruckman Aaron Sandilands has missed just five games in the last three seasons, but all five matches were losses for Fremantle. It’s what made recruiting another genuine ruckman so important while the 21-year-old Zac Clarke develops.

Former Adelaide ruckman Jon Griffin is the player Fremantle targeted at the end of last season, sending pick No.61 in the 2010 NAB AFL Draft to the Crows in exchange for the 25-year-old.

Griffin is yet to play a senior game for Fremantle, with forward Kepler Bradley providing very brief support in the ruck when it is needed at senior level.

But the 201cm Griffin’s form has been building in the WAFL and Fremantle knows it has a competitive ruckman to call on at AFL level when required.

“In regards to his tap-work he’s up there with the best ruckmen in the WAFL competition. He’s been very dominant,” assistant coach Simon Lloyd said.

“Our big thing was for him to get more involved outside the ruck contests and go for his marks, and he’s definitely doing that.

“He was starting forward and going into the ruck for 10 minutes each quarter earlier in the season, but that’s probably swung around the other way recently.

“Aaron Sandilands has got a high workload, so we’d like to see Jon predominantly in the ruck.”

First-year forward Josh Mellington was Fremantle’s WAFL player of the round as he continued to develop in a high forward role.

The strong-bodied youngster had 16 possessions, seven inside 50s and two goals, which Lloyd said was a good return in the hard-running role.

Clayton Hinkley returned from a knee injury in the reserves and will be considered to play senior football with Swan Districts this week.

Ahead of Sunday’s Western Derby, Lloyd shared his WAFL notes with fremantlefc.com.au.

East Perth 12.12 (84) lost to Swan Districts 15.14 (104)

Hamish Shepheard
Hamish played a key forward role for East Perth alternating between starting deep and then starting 30m from goal. He read the ball well and was clean at ground level, but he looked his best when he was able to run and jump at the ball and he took two solid contested marks, which were a highlight of his game. He missed some opportunities, kicking 2.3, but it’s good to see him getting those shots on goal.

Clayton Hinkley (reserves)
Clayton played through the midfield for Swan Districts and was tagged, with a late stint at half-forward in the last quarter. We were really happy with his effort and intent around the contest and the highlight of his game was his tackling pressure. He’s only just coming back into the game but he threw himself into the contest. It was a positive return.

East Fremantle 16.22 (118) def Peel Thunder 14.7 (91)

Ben Bucovaz
Ben played at half-back for the first time in quite a while and started slowly for East Fremantle before finding his feet in the second half. He had nine possessions in the third quarter, using the ball well by foot and spreading hard out of the backline. It was a good game from Ben, so he’ll probably stick there for a period of time and we’ll see how he goes.

Jonathon Griffin
Jon had a great start to the game for East Fremantle, winning plenty of hit-outs and getting his fair share of touches. He took a very good contested mark on the wing in the first quarter and also had a couple of inside 50s that resulted in shots on goal. His second half was quieter around the ground, but we were happy with his game, particularly his ruck dominance.

Viv Michie
Viv had a number of good clearances for Peel in a bright start to the game and he was really prepared to run hard in a four-quarter effort. He’s got a fair amount of courage and he ran with the flight of the ball in the last quarter. Viv had clean hands around stoppages and showed some excellent delivery going inside 50.

Jesse Crichton
Jesse made a really good start for Peel, linking up from a wing and using the ball well. He took the game on and tried to run and carry the footy, but he dropped away in the second half. He had eight tackles and 17 possessions, so we just wanted to see him finish off his game stronger and win a bit more contested ball.

Perth 10.9 (69) lost to Claremont 23.14 (152)

Casey Sibosado
Casey benefited from the experience of playing on classy forward Chad Jones and was really challenged by that role. He was moved onto a medium-sized opponent after half-time and looked more comfortable, pushing up on the counter-attack and finishing with eight good spoils for Perth. It was a good learning experience for him and he’ll continue to get stronger and more comfortable on bigger opponents in time.

Byron Schammer
Byron played a good game for Claremont and spread really well, often being the first player out of stoppages. He read the play quicker than anyone else and subsequently found a lot of space, finishing with 21 possessions. He often started at centre bounces and then went to half-forward, where he kicked two goals, and he put his body on the line in contested situations.

West Perth 21.10 (136) def South Fremantle 9.9 (63)

Josh Mellington
Josh had a solid game for West Perth, playing higher up the ground as a forward and finishing with seven inside 50s and two goals. He’s really listened to the coaches and conditioning staff with regards to his running patterns, so we were really happy with his footy smarts. He made good decisions and kicked the ball well, with several of his inside 50s resulting in shots on goals.

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