Fremantle champion Matthew Pavlich says he is relishing his return to the power forward role but knows the nature of the position had changed significantly since he last played there in 2008.

Pavlich, who played in Fremantle’s Sunday romp against Essendon in round one of the NAB Cup before sitting out the defeat to West Coast, was speaking at Nulsen Primary School, in Esperance, today as part of Fremantle’s community camp.

“It has changed a fair bit throughout my career,” the Dockers captain said of his role. “Now with opposition teams looking to outnumber in defensive parts of the ground, the press.”

“It has changed but the fundamentals stay the same. You have to work hard and at times you have to deal with opposition players jumping all over you. The fundamentals don’t differ too much.”

Pavlich was pleased with his touch in the 40 minutes he played on Sunday and said he had pulled up well.

“Training there for four months now, it becomes second nature and I guess throughout my career I have played in a variety of roles,” he said.

“But forward is probably the most natural that comes to me. I am glad to be back out there and it was nice to run around.

“You train so long and hard and sometimes in the practice games you hardly touch it.

“It is more about getting to the right spots and things like contested marking and the general feel of judging the ball, (that) is always going to take some time.

“Any time you are touching the footy and hopefully giving it to your teammates you feel a bit more confident.

“Having played only 40 minutes I would like to think I was going to pull up fine. The majority of the guys have done so as well.

“It is always a difficult time of the year, an evil necessity even to have practice games and get hit and get bumps and knocks.

“You see some of the carnage that happened on the weekend, (so) touch wood that the guys can get through the next three weeks unscathed and we can start to play some of our other guys who are pretty close to playing.”

Matt de Boer, who was crunched in the Eagles match, appears to have escaped significant injury after joining teammates for a run and swim on the Esperance esplanade this morning.

Pavlich said the Dockers had taken a significant amount out of their weekend matches.

“I thought in the first game against Essendon our pressure and our structure was really sound,” he said. “We moved the ball well also and it was a good start.”

“Against West Coast it seemed a bit more intense. We struggled to move the ball out of their press and they have been renowned for that for quite some time now.

“We struggled to deal with that as well as losing some structure but overall it was pleasing to get the minutes in particular guys. I think we get some great learning out of the games.”

Pavlich applauded the AFL’s community camp concept.

“I think this is my 10th visit to various parts of Western Australia. If you include our trip to South Africa we have covered a fair bit of the world now with some of our community visits.

“I guess I will look back on my career and say that footy has taken me to various parts of the world.”

“The best thing is that local communities get to see AFL players and hear the message of what it is like to be an AFL player and the elite lifestyle that we have to live.

“We can speak of our dreams and the reality of becoming an AFL footballer. There are legitimate pathways now in the country in WA that lead players and people, not necessarily out of country life but to some of their dreams.

“I never thought, until I was about 17, that it would actually become a reality. I grew up in Adelaide, a suburban lifestyle with a modest and normal family upbringing, and like everyone else, at that time it was absolutely a dream to play in the AFL.

“At that time it was to play for the Adelaide Crows. As it turned out I ended up on the other side of the country and have enjoyed the last 12 years.”

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