Mundy running against the clock
Fremantle midfielders Michael Barlow and David Mundy have increased their running training in a bid to prove their fitness before the season opener against Geelong at Patersons Stadium later this month.
But wingman Anthony Morabito has suffered another setback in his return from a knee reconstruction with a quad injury in the same leg set to stop him playing in the pre-season.
Morabito injured his left leg at training on Friday and won’t resume full training for three weeks.
Fremantle had hoped the 20-year-old would play in the NAB Cup, but he is now likely to start with Peel on March 31.
Barlow had leg pain after Fremantle’s intraclub game last month and didn’t play in the first round of the NAB Cup.
He broke his leg in round 14 of 2010 and didn’t play another AFL game until round 13 last year.
He also had pain after his comeback, but had trained strongly through the summer.
Coach Ross Lyon said Barlow had completed his rest period and would now start working towards playing.
“He’s on legs again,” Lyon said. “We backed him off for two weeks. He ran yesterday. He’s kicked back into gear and we’ll graduate him.
“We’re really confident he’ll play a practice match or two and be available for round one.”
Mundy has barely been seen at Fremantle training this year after struggling to recover from the leg injury which restricted him to only one game in the second half of last season.
Lyon said the 2010 best and fairest would run 12 to 13km every second day in an attempt to be ready for round one, but admitted it would be hard for him to be fit.
The Dockers and Richmond will play in a NAB Cup game at Patersons Stadium on Sunday, but Matthew Pavlich, Aaron Sandilands and Luke McPharlin are likely to play just a half so other players can build their match fitness.
McPharlin is yet to play this year, while Pavlich and Sandilands took part in the intraclub game and the first round of the NAB Cup.
Sandilands played against West Coast and Essendon, but Pavlich was rested against the Eagles.
Jonathon Griffin and Alex Silvagni are in contention to play their first games for 2012, and Zac Clarke is also a chance to benefit from more game time.
Lyon revealed the focus on being ready for round one was so strong that the players were fatigued for NAB Cup games after some arduous training sessions.
“We’re trying to get AFL minutes into a squad that will play in round one,” Lyon said.
“We’ll be managing our players and getting minutes into them. That is the absolute priority.
“There’s only three weeks of games to go, so there’s not a lot of minutes left.
“We’re still in a heavy training load. We really went in heavy with NAB Cup. They had a massive week – their biggest week.
“This week will still be solid. Next week we’ll just start to taper a little bit.”
We’re trying to get AFL minutes into a squad that will play in round one.” Ross Lyon