No holding back says Sandi
Stand-in captain Aaron Sandilands says the team won’t be holding back this Saturday when Fremantle plays its final game of the 2011 season against the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.
The champion ruckman said a win would give the side momentum heading into the pre-season.
“Especially after the last two weeks, they’ve been big losses and we want to go out and put in a really good performance against the Western Bulldogs and get some confidence coming into pre-season next year,” he said.
Sandilands admitted Freo’s injury list had crippled the squad’s numbers, but he said it was important that the 22 that do play this weekend give a good performance.
“It is a big injury list but it’s given opportunities to guys to play AFL and give them some experience,” he said.
“We don’t have a lot to choose from but it’s our last game for the year and it’s one that we want to put a good performance in because it’s a long time between the last game and the first one next year.
“So we’ll do everything we can to go out and play well and hopefully win.”
Sandilands said an inexperienced Fremantle team would learn from its 80-point defeat to reigning AFL Premiers Collingwood last Friday night.
“Collingwood are the benchmark,” he said.
“We got to test ourselves against them. The way they pressure you to turn the ball over is where they stood out.”
But Sandilands believed some of Freo’s youngsters were not far off becoming stars in their own right.
“We’ve got some great young midfielders coming through, like Nat Fyfe” he said.
“And Mick Barlow is back now and playing some good footy. Nick Lower got a fair bit of the ball on Friday night and Zac Clarke is doing a fair few roles.
“Get a few more games into those guys and they’ll go a long way.”
On his own form, the three-time All Australian was confident he’d be fully fit come the 2012 season.
“That was my third game back now and I’m starting to get a bit of match fitness,” he said.
“The rest I had was sufficient, and a bit more over the break will do it the world of good come pre-season.”
Sandilands was also glowing about the Fremantle fans last Friday night, who stayed to the end and cheered every goal despite the scoreboard situation.
“Our fans have been sensational for us,” he said.
“They’ve supported us through the tough times and the good times. It’s great to see them when they’re very vocal like that.”