First-year forward Josh Mellington has stepped into the Fremantle side for two games during Adam McPhee’s absence and there is more than just the odd similarity in how the two appear and play the game.

Mellington, who was the youngest player drafted last year, has a strong build and a similar physical appearance to McPhee, and his attack on the ball at senior level has been comparable to that of his older teammate.

The similarities in playing style aren’t a complete coincidence either, with McPhee mentoring the 18-year-old this season as he adjusts to his first year of senior football.

“Adam’s taken Josh under his wing and been a really good mentor for him,” assistant coach Simon Lloyd said.

“He’s played a lot of footy over a long period of time, Adam, and he’s been really good at guiding Josh this year and making sure he knows what’s expected.

“The way that Adam attacks the contest in the air and at ground level is something that he’s reinforced with Josh.”

After playing at the top level against the Brisbane Lions and as a substitute against Gold Coast, Mellington spent Fremantle’s bye in the WAFL to maintain match fitness.

He was the club’s WAFL player of the round for his high intensity game as a forward for West Perth, with his tackling a highlight.

“We knew that he tackled well last year at TAC Cup level, but there’s definitely been some strong improvements as the year has progressed,” Lloyd said.

“He’s very physical and aggressive in nature and it’s about learning to harness that.”

Ahead of this week’s fixtures, Lloyd shared his WAFL notes

Peel Thunder 14.12 (96) d East Fremantle 9.17 (71)

Peter Faulks
Peter played league for Peel and had the job of shutting down Brock O’Brien, generally playing deep and taking the honours. He repositioned his opponent well and his ball handling was very good. The thing we’re working on, which Peter has done really well at training this week, is running off his opponent and getting the forward out of position. He’s got the defensive side of his game going well.

Jesse Crichton
Jesse was much more involved this week, with his first quarter intensity clearly up on his previous game for Peel. He had seven touches in the second term and really got stuck in before taking a more defensive mindset into the third quarter. His attack on the ball at times was strong and his intensity was better – it’s just about making that consistent over four quarters for Jesse.

Ben Bucovaz

Ben started as a deep forward for East Fremantle, kicking the first goal of the game off a good gather before coming up to a half-forward flank. He started the game really well and looked lively, but from that point on his output wasn’t at the same level and he wasn’t as clean with his handling. Ben’s worked really hard to get himself into a good position and he just needs to get back to that.

Clancee Pearce (reserves)
Clancee started very well for the Peel reserves, playing mostly in the centre with some stints at half-forward. He gathered nine touches in the first quarter, including the first clearance of the game, and we were really happy with his attack on the ball. He tackled strongly, reacted quickly to the state of play and played with the right attitude.

Joel Houghton (reserves)
Joel started at centre half-forward for the East Fremantle reserves and had some stints in the ruck, showing good signs when contesting boundary throw-ins. It was good that he got another four quarters of football under his belt coming back into the game from a thumb injury. His leading patterns and game sense are a continued focus with Jason McCartney and we’ve had him watching a lot of behind-the-goals footage of Nick Riewoldt.

West Perth 13.13 (91) d Claremont 13.7 (85)

Josh Mellington
Josh was a really dangerous forward for West Perth and he proved that he had learned from his experiences so far at AFL level. He played that high forward role well, which is something that he’s learned through this year. The highlight of his game was his tackling, earning three free kicks for run-downs. He now needs to convert his opportunities in front of goal to make sure he finishes off his good work.

Jay van Berlo
Jay started the game on a wing in a really positive fashion for West Perth, running hard and winning a lot of loose ball between the arcs. He was moved to a running back role in the second half and did his job, but we still would like him to get more involved in the counter attack. Jay really performed when it counted in the last 15 minutes of the game, winning the ball in three clearances and sealing the game with a 35m snap, which was great for him.

Byron Schammer

Byron has been in very good form and he started well again, winning a handful of possessions in the opening minutes for Claremont. He won first and second possessions at stoppages and really found some good space on the wings. He was the most influential midfielder in the first quarter, but he suffered a bad cork early in the second. He tried to come back on, but couldn’t get his running going.

Subiaco 18.11 (119) d South Fremantle 16.15 (111)

Clayton Hinkley (reserves)
Clayton played midfield with brief periods at half-forward for the Subiaco reserves and had a hard-working, team-orientated approach for four quarters. We were happy with his skill efficiency and he spread hard on offensive transition to be used as an outlet, demanding the football. He had 26 disposals in a good outing.

East Perth 4.8 (32) lost to Williamstown 16.7 (103)

Hamish Shepheard
Hamish played for East Perth in the Foxtel Cup, spending time in the ruck against Will Minson and Jordan Roughead before going forward. He made some good repeat leads in the second quarter, but just mistimed them. In the third term he was more influential, kicking an early goal that gave him a lot of confidence, and from there his work-rate and intensity lifted, making him a viable target for his midfield.

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