Fitness first for Freo
Fremantle is confident it will have 95 per cent of its list in full training following the Christmas break, with the club determined to avoid a repeat of the injury crisis that derailed its 2011 season.
Pre-season setbacks to a host of key players ensured Fremantle started its 2011 campaign on the back foot and the team never recovered, battling a massive injury toll and missing the finals as a result.
‘Fit and available’ has been the mantra preached by new coach Ross Lyon since he arrived in September, and assistant coach Todd Curley highlighted the swelling numbers on the track as the most encouraging aspect of the summer program so far.
Roughly 30 Fremantle players were involved in full training on Monday, with the squad completing a series of kicking drills and zone defence simulations in a 90-minute session.
“The good thing for us is we’ve got a fair few numbers out there today and we’re able to start training,” Curley said.
“With zones there’s just so much pressure on the ball-carrier so you’ve got to be able to hit your skills. You get them in as early as you can.”
After undergoing a knee clean up post-season, forward Chris Mayne is still in the rehabilitation group, but Curley was confident the 23-year-old would join full training, along with key midfielder David Mundy, when the club starts its next phase of pre-season on January 4.
“We’re pretty confident that we’ll have the majority of our group up and going for post-Christmas. He (Mayne) is on track for that.
“[Mundy] will be pretty close. He’s running and running pretty well, so he’s pretty happy with how he’s feeling and it’ll be good to have him back out there.”
Tall forward Kepler Bradley and midfield recruit Hayden Crozier trained away from the main group on Monday, running laps of Fremantle Oval for the majority of the session.
Curley said Bradley, who kicked 25 goals in 15 games last season, had improved his running ability during the first phase of the pre-season.
“He’s running really well and he’s a little bit leaner than he has been in a while,” Curley said.
“He’s getting a little bit older and I think carrying a little bit less weight. To the credit of all the group actually, they’re running really well and presenting really well.”
Curley nominated Tendai Mzungu, Stephen Hill, Hayden Ballantyne, Ryan Crowley and Clancee Pearce, whose return to the rookie list for a fourth season was confirmed on Tuesday, as the standout performers so far this pre-season.