Injury-free the key at Freo
Fremantle is tackling its first pre-season under new coach Ross Lyon with an increased focus on running and injury prevention, delaying the football component of its summer program.
Under former coach Mark Harvey, Fremantle’s past two pre-seasons had a “combative” focus, with the club intent on developing big-bodied players that excelled in the contest.
But after last season was ruined by injury, Fremantle players have returned to a new program that will see them complete a significant block of running work before football drills are introduced.
“Obviously with a new coach there’s been a different philosophy from Ross [Lyon],” key defender Alex Silvagni said from Fremantle Oval on Monday as the club’s fifth to eighth-year players returned.
“It’s working on fitness early on and then incorporating skills and things, the footy aspect, at a later stage.
“There’s a lot of emphasis on the running early, compared with Mark [Harvey] last year. He had different aspects – a lot of football and a lot of tackling and boxing.
“It’s a lot easier at the moment compared with last year. I suppose in the long run it’s about minimising injury.”
Silvagni and the club’s first to fourth-year players, who started pre-season training last Monday, spent close to an hour completing a series of short distance run-throughs on Monday.
The key defender nominated Clancee Pearce, Hayden Ballantyne and Tendai Mzungu as the early front-runners and said a number of the young players had completed running programs during their time off to improve their technique.
“Due to the injuries last year, we went through a massive screening process and found deficiencies in a number of guys like myself,” he said.
“I did three weeks of technique running, just to help me out. It was part of something I had to do to correct it.
“Guys that have been here for a certain number of years, they’ve been pushed into having correct techniques, whereas I’ve come from being here a couple of years, so haven’t really had a chance to develop a correct running style.”
Midfielder Anthony Morabito, whose reconstructed left knee was lightly taped on Monday, didn’t take part in running drills, but the exciting youngster appears in excellent condition and should start running within a week.
Fremantle’s entire group will come together next Monday for a 3km time trial, and Silvagni said it was up to the club’s younger players to drive the early stages of the pre-season.
The 24-year-old, who suffered a groin infection last season and didn’t play until round 14, said he was aiming to use this summer as a launching pad to cement his place in the backline in 2012.
“I just want to have a really good pre-season and play a whole year instead of coming back halfway through the year and playing a few games,” he said.
“I’d like to really cement my spot in the backline and hopefully I can do that this year with a full pre-season.”