Barlow makes perfect return
Fremantle will continue to take a cautious approach with Michael Barlow’s return from a broken leg, despite what the club has described as a perfect comeback on Saturday afternoon.
Barlow had 15 possessions in a half of football for the Peel Thunder reserves, playing his first match in 11 months in front of a large Fremantle contingent.
Development coach Ashley Prescott said the 23-year-old hadn’t lost any of his ball-winning ability and he appeared to have full confidence in his repaired left leg.
“He played predominantly through the midfield and worked really well,” Prescott told afl.com.au on Saturday.
“It was certainly a really good step forward and he can walk away today being really pleased with his effort in 30 minutes of football.
“The beauty of Mick, and we saw it playing last year, is just his ability to constantly stay in motion and his ability to read the ball. That was really good today.
“You certainly can’t wipe the smile off his face.”
Barlow, who completed extra conditioning work following Saturday’s game, said he was happy with his performance and could have kept playing.
“It felt really good out there and it was good to get a sweat up,” Barlow said. “The next 24-48 hours are pretty important to see how the body pulls up.”
Fremantle will wait to see how their star midfielder feels on Sunday before deciding if he steps up his game time, possibly at league level, next week.
Prescott said the club would remain cautious in its approach.
“It was a great return but [next week] will depend on how he’s pulled up,” Prescott said.
“There’s been a plan put in place and it’ll be about sticking to the plan. We won’t put any more pressure on him than what needs to be put on him.
“It’ll be a cautious and careful approach, but he’s certainly heading in the right direction.”