Fremantle finalises squad
Fremantle has finalised its 2012 playing squad by adding six players at today’s Pre-Season and Rookie Drafts.
As expected, Zac Dawson was selected with the club’s only pick (No. 10) in the Pre-Season Draft, while a further five players were picked via the Rookie Draft – an avenue the likes of Michael Barlow, Alex Silvagni, Nick Lower, Matt de Boer and Greg Broughton have taken in previous seasons.
Mature-age SANFL star Lee Spurr (pick 8), South Fremantle’s Haiden Schloithe (26), Sam Menegola (44), who was delisted by Hawthorn, and Darwin’s Jordan King-Wilson (61) all had their names called out by Freo General manager of player management Brad Lloyd.
Clancee Pearce made the most of his opportunity to remain and train with the team following his delisting at the end of the season. He was re-rookie listed with the club’s final pick (75) after an impressive pre-season campaign.
Dawson joins the club after three seasons with St Kilda in which he played in three Grand Finals (2009, 2010 and 2010 replay).
Lloyd said Dawson was a quality backman who would add depth to Freo’s defensive stocks.
“Ross (Lyon) has coached him and rates him highly, so we were ecstatic to get him where we did as a Pre-Season pick,” Lloyd said.
“He’s going to compliment (Luke) McPharlin, (Alex) Silvagni and (Peter) Faulks.”
Spurr, a 24-year-old former Queenslander, has spent the past five seasons playing for Central Districts in the SANFL, where he won three premierships.
He has the ability to gut run and find plenty of the ball across half-back and has also impacted on games as a midfielder, averaging 22 disposals and seven marks per game at SANFL League level.
Lloyd said the club almost selected Spurr in the National Draft and was very happy to get him with its first pick in the Rookie Draft.
“We think he’s been outstanding the last three or four years over at Central Districts,” he said.
“He’s been dominant at SANFL level and played really well in the Grand Final.
“We expect him to come in and settle really quickly.”
Schloithe, 18, was a member of the South Fremantle Colts Premiership winning side this year, where he was recognised as one of the best tacklers in the competition, averaging seven per game.
“He’s a running forward/midfielder with really good speed,” Lloyd said.
“He really puts his head over the footy and he’s strong and tough.”
Sam Menegola was one pick away from becoming a Fremantle Docker in last year’s Rookie Draft when the club was set to choose him with selection 20, only for Hawthorn to take him at number 19.
The 19-year-old had impressed while training with Freo in last year’s pre-season.
“He trained with us and he was outstanding last year,” Lloyd said.
“Sam’s got elite endurance and he’s a nice size.”
The club also selected 18-year-old Indigenous player Jordan King-Wilson, who hails from Darwin.
He has played both through the midfield and as a small rebounding defender, averaging 19 possessions per game at the national carnival and more than 20 at SANFL under 18 level for North Adelaide.
“He’s played a heap of footy this year,” Lloyd said.
“He’s a running back with really good speed and endurance.”
Lloyd said Pearce, who has spent the past three seasons on Freo’s Rookie List, thoroughly deserved another opportunity at the top level following his pre-season.
“Ross has been impressed with the way he has gone about it,” Lloyd said.
“His pre-season has been sensational.
“To see the way he’s gone about it with training, he deserves an opportunity to have a run with the new coach and see how he goes.”
Lloyd added that the Rookie List was a critical part of the club’s draft strategy every year.
“Every pick is really important to the depth of the club,” he said.
“I think we’ve got about 240 games out of our rookies from the past three or four drafts.
“You pick the best available on the day and if one becomes a Broughton or a Barlow, you’re really excited.”