Archive for January, 2012

Solitary AFL game stalls Sibosado’s career


De-listed Docker Casey Sibosado’s future is in limbo because of a quirk in the WAFL salary cap points system which may have priced him out of all clubs except Claremont.

Sibosado’s solitary AFL game, in round 24 against the Western Bulldogs last year when the Dockers picked their team from 23 fit players, has elevated his value from eight points as an AFL rookie-listed player under WAFL rules to 12 points as a listed player who played an AFL match.

Claremont, his club of origin, can take him at a cost of just one point.

But Sibosado, 21, who played only three games for the Tigers in 2009 and was shifted to Perth to get senior opportunities, has made it clear his preference is to stay at Perth, where he has played 30 matches over the past two seasons. The Demons, who have recruited strongly over summer, asked other clubs for permission to downgrade his value so they could retain him but the only club to support them was Claremont.


West Coast and Fremantle to meet only once in AFL pre-season


West Coast and Fremantle will be spared an extra pre-season hitout against each other this year.

The AFL said it was “extremely unlikely” the pair would be fixtured to meet for a second time during the NAB Cup series.

The WA rivals were asked to face off twice during last year’s pre-season once in the triangular 40-minute matches in February at Patersons Stadium, before clashing at Fremantle Oval in March.

The Eagles and Dockers will meet in a 40-minute match in three weeks’ time when they host Essendon in the triangular NAB Cup opener at Patersons on February 19.


Fremantle’s defensive squeeze


Fremantle defender Alex Silvagni is hopeful a full pre-season will give him the edge required to cement his spot in Ross Lyon’s back six, with a selection squeeze looming in defence ahead of the NAB Cup.

Following the arrival of former St Kilda defender Zac Dawson, Fremantle boasts four genuine key-defensive options, including veteran pair Luke McPharlin and Antoni Grover.

Silvagni is entering his third season after being recruited as a 22-year-old rookie and he is aiming to cement his spot in defence this year after an impressive end to the 2011 season.

The 24-year-old, who suffered a stomach infection last year and didn’t play until round 14, said a strong pre-season was giving him the mental edge he needed to improve.

“It’s just been enjoyable being out on the track and just running around with the boys and not being restrained by injuries,” Silvagni said from Fremantle Oval on Monday.


Docker Barlow has unfinished business


He’s been called a first-year sensation, a star midfielder, even a Brownlow Medal fancy.

Fremantle’s Michael Barlow looks at himself and instead sees someone who has played just 22 AFL games and has plenty to prove.

For one, he can’t promise that he will pick up an average of 28 possessions in every game this season as he did in his startling introduction to AFL ranks in 2010.

His glittering run of 13 matches ended with his left leg snapping under the impact of a sliding teammate Rhys Palmer at Patersons Stadium.

Critics lauded Barlow’s poise, skills and composure before that unlucky break, but the on-baller said that he viewed himself as far from the complete footballer.


Spurr and Neale on Thunder radar


Peel Thunder are tossing up between Fremantle pair Lee Spurr and Lachie Neale for the first selection in next month’s allocation of interstate AFL draftees.

Spurr, 24, was the Dockers’ first rookie draft pick at No.8 last year.

The 183cm utility player looms as the club’s latest mature-age wild-card on the back of three premierships with SANFL powerhouse Central District.

Neale, who has played senior football for Glenelg in the SANFL, is a 177cm pocket rocket capable of playing as an inside midfielder and forward.


Mzungu mystery


When you consider what Tendai Mzungu was able to achieve under difficult circumstances last season, Fremantle is right to be excited about the mature-age recruit’s potential in 2012.

Fourteen senior games and acknowledgement as your club’s best first-year player is a solid debut season under any circumstances.

But for Mzungu, there was a significant curve ball thrown in at the worst possible time, making his season all the more impressive.

After blitzing his first pre-season, Mzungu was struck down with a knee injury during Fremantle’s last practice match, ruling him out for eight weeks and undoing months of hard work.

He returned to average 19 possessions in his 14 matches, however, and has plans to improve this season given a clean bill of health.

“I feel fitter and a bit stronger than last year, so having a year under my belt now I feel like I’ve got a good base to work with,” Mzungu said.


Walters’ wake-up call


Fremantle is hopeful forward Michael Walters will receive a wake-up call after being sent back to WAFL club Swan Districts to train.

Walters, who has played 11 games in three seasons, returned to pre-season training in poor condition and was told by the club last week that he was not meeting the physical requirements for AFL football.

Defender Luke McPharlin said the club would continue to support the talented forward, but he needed to fall into line with the physical requirements that have been set by Lyon and the coaching group.

“We’ve got a situation where the majority of the playing group are weighing in in that area, and he’s on the outer,” McPharlin, a member of the club’s leadership group, said.

“I’m sure he would certainly prefer to be at Fremantle Football Club, and it could possibly be the wake-up call he needs.

“We all know that he has undoubted talent, and we’d love to see that on the main stage.


Dockers send unfit Walters back to WAFL


Fremantle forward Michael Walters’ AFL career has hit flashpoint after the Dockers sent him back to his WAFL club Swan Districts to train after he failed to meet the club’s pre-season fitness standards.

Dockers football manager Chris Bond yesterday confirmed the dec-ision, which was made on Friday. Walters could start training with Swans, his WAFL club of origin, as soon as tonight.

“We can confirm that Michael has gone back to Swan Districts due to the fact that he hasn’t met the club’s standards, expectations and requirements,” Bond said.

Bond said the ball was now in Walters’ court.

He would do all of his training work with Swans, including weight programs and recovery sessions, but the Dockers would happily reassess their position on him if he brought his fitness level to club standards.

“He has the opportunity to act his way back into our program by working hard at Swans,” Bond said.


Walters to train with Swan Districts


Fremantle player Michael Walters will train with WAFL club Swan Districts after the club determined he was not meeting physical requirements for AFL football.

General manager football operations, Chris Bond, said the 21-year-old had not been able to get himself to the standard necessary for AFL level.

“The club will continue to work closely with Michael, but he now has the opportunity to go to Swan Districts and focus on getting back to the level required for AFL Football,” Bond said.

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Fremantle Dockers recruits being urged to seize their chances


Senior Fremantle official Brad Lloyd has backed two of the club’s later draft picks to push for early selection.

Lloyd, general manager of player management, said midfielders Lachie Neale, taken by the Dockers at pick 58 overall in the national draft, and Cameron Sutcliffe (No.71) had been standouts since joining Fremantle in November.

As the Dockers hosted the families of their nine draftees last weekend in an orientation camp, Lloyd urged the youngsters to seize their opportunities for early selection, saying a young list had opened the door for players who wanted to take their chances.


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