Fremantle midfielder Michael Barlow has capped his return to football with a two-year contract extension, committing to the club until the end of the 2014 season.

Barlow joins captain Matthew Pavlich, reigning club champion David Mundy and influential ruckman Aaron Sandilands in signing on for the next three seasons, with Sandilands announcing his one-year extension on Monday.

The 23-year-old made his anticipated return to senior football against Melbourne in round 13, almost 12 months after suffering a horrific broken leg in round 14 last year.

General manager of player management Brad Lloyd said Fremantle had been monitoring Barlow’s recovery closely before announcing the contract extension on Tuesday.

“As soon as the all clear was given, we were keen to get a commitment from Michael and, similarly, for the club to confirm its commitment to
him,” Lloyd said.

“Michael had an outstanding debut season after coming off the rookie list and we believe he is very much a part of the long-term future of
the Fremantle Dockers.”

Barlow was Fremantle’s leading possession-winner against Melbourne in his return match, finishing with 25 disposals and four clearances, but he missed the side’s clash with the Brisbane Lions last Saturday with general soreness.

Captain Matthew Pavlich said the former rookie had pulled up sore from his first game back and was a chance to face Gold Coast at Patersons Stadium on Saturday.

“It was always going to be a chance with Mick that he’d play one, miss one, miss a couple,” Pavlich said.

“When it’s an injury of that significance, I think everyone has to temper their expectations, both of what he does when he’s out there playing for us, but certainly his ability to back up week-in, week-out.

“We’re hopeful that if it’s not this week he’ll be right after the bye. We’re likely to get Grover, Ballantyne and Mzungu back for this week.”

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