Mundy’s got round one on his mind
Key midfielder David Mundy has ramped up his push to play in Fremantle’s season opener against Geelong after returning to full training on Wednesday morning.
Despite missing the entire NAB Cup following off-season ankle surgery, coach Ross Lyon said Mundy had built momentum in recent weeks and could join Aaron Sandilands and Michael Barlow in a near full-strength team for round one.
The coach had previously considered Mundy unlikely to face the Cats at Patersons Stadium on March 31, but said recent progress from the clearance specialist meant he could be proved wrong.
“If Mundy says, ‘I’m right to play, coach’, that’s going to put some pressure on the match committee,” Lyon said on Wednesday morning. “That’d be a great position to be in.
“He’s in full training today, so that’s really exciting. If everything had gone perfectly with his operation he should have been in full training five weeks ago.
“He had the hiccup but fortunately he’s got good momentum now … he is starting to get going so he might prove the coach wrong.”
Fremantle faces selection dilemmas ahead of round one with fellow stars Sandilands, who suffered a calf tear two weeks ago, and Barlow, who has battled soreness in his rebuilt left leg.
Neither will face Hawthorn at Patersons Stadium on Friday night in the team’s final NAB Cup match.
Lyon said he was not concerned with Sandilands’s preparation after a previously faultless pre-season, while the substitute rule could open the door for Mundy in round one.
“When you’re talking that type of quality, certainly Aaron can come in and Mick Barlow,” the coach said.
“It’d be a big ask, but maybe with the sub [Mundy] could come back into contention, which would be exciting.
“I think potentially you could (play both Mundy and Barlow in round one).”
The AFL has made a late decision this week to allow clubs to introduce their three emergency players after half-time in the final NAB Cup matches, instead of reverting to regular season rules.
Lyon said the change, which was made at the request of clubs, would allow Fremantle to select key defender Antoni Grover, who is returning from a calf injury, in a full-strength backline that will include Luke McPharlin, Zac Dawson and Michael Johnson.
The coach will also have a chance to assess which rookie the club elevates after second-year midfielder Viv Michie suffered another serious foot injury that could potentially end his season.
Lyon said Clancee Pearce was the front-runner to earn promotion to the senior list after he continued his impressive NAB Cup campaign with 22 disposals against Port Adelaide last Saturday.
“We’ve got a couple of obvious rookies to look at elevating, which is Clancee Pearce, Lee Spurr and Hayden Schloithe and Sam Menegola,” the coach said.
“We’ll probably let it run another week and then look at making a decision if we feel that need.
“It’s self-evident that he’s in the mix [for round one]. His form has been really good.
“He has done every minute of every session and nearly played all the minutes and he’s been in our best players. At this point he’s a good story, but he needs to keep it going.”