Jay van Berlo begins fights to win back spot in Fremantle’s line-up
Jay van Berlo is “up and about” again and confident he can regain his place in the Fremantle’s line-up after making a full recovery from a groin complaint.
The utility was a late inclusion for West Perth in the WAFL season opener against Subiaco after being named as an emergency for the Dockers’ scratch match against Hawthorn on Friday night.
The Falcons were beaten by 24 points on Saturday, but the 23-year-old utility was one of their best, collecting 21 touches and kicking an important goal in the third term.
Van Berlo finished last season in the WAFL, losing his spot after Round 13, and started his AFL pre-season late after having surgery to fix an osteitis pubis problem.
He resumed full training after Christmas and although he has played in almost all of Fremantle’s pre-season games, his time on the ground has been limited as he was eased back.
Having now come through a full match without feeling any ill-effect, van Berlo’s focus is firmly on playing well and adding to his 30 games with the Dockers.
“I’m up and about now so hopefully I can push forward and get some real good fitness and game time, and push for selection,” he said.
“(The Dockers) are a tough team to get into at the moment and every spot is earnt, so I’m going to have to work extra hard to earn my spot.
“If I do get an opportunity, obviously I’ve got to take it with both hands but at the moment my focus is with West Perth and playing well with them.”
While he’s under no illusions that it will be easy, van Berlo says he knows what is required to break back into the Dockers team after a gruelling pre-season.
“With Ross (Lyon) there has been a big focus on fitness and availability,” he said.
“We’ve certainly worked hard on the longer stuff, hard running, as well as getting everyone’s bodies right.
“They are the key areas, as well as understanding the game plan, so if you pick up all three of those, you give yourself every chance to play.”