Reputation won’t be the deciding factor when it’s time for Ross Lyon to select Fremantle’s midfield in 2013, according to Cam Sutcliffe.
The 20-year-old South Australian admits the club’s young midfielders face a tough task to break into a deep Freo on-ball unit that includes the likes of David Mundy, Michael Barlow, Nat Fyfe and Stephen Hill.
But Sutcliffe said his mindset had been to train as hard as possible.
“When it’s time to pick the team, it will come down to who is playing the best football and who knows the structures,” he said.
“You don’t look at it as though the established midfielders are better than you.
“You look at it as a challenge that you’re willing to take. If you know the game plan and put in the effort, you’ll get your chance.”
Sutcliffe appeared in four consecutive games mid-season last year, the last three as a substitute.
He said that taste of AFL action has driven him throughout the 2013 pre-season.
“It definitely made me hungrier to play more games this year,” he said.
“I wouldn’t put a number on it, but I’m having a good pre-season so far so I’m hopeful the hard work will pay off.”
Sutcliffe’s main aim since being drafted with pick 71 in the 2011 Draft has been to continue improving his running capacity and build up his slender frame.
After a year in the system, he has seen positive changes, both physically and mentally.
“Physically I’m a lot bigger and stronger than I was a year ago,” he said.
“Mentally, I’ve learnt a lot of things, such as preparation and routine.”
Sutcliffe has also learnt quite a bit about being an AFL midfielder from one of the best – David Mundy.
“I really look up to David,” he said.
“He’s been very helpful with stoppages. This year’s he’s really drilled it into me and tested me out on occasions.
“It’s a great resource for me to be able to draw upon his knowledge.”
Sutcliffe was the popular answer to the question “Who will be the next big thing at your club’ in a recent survey conducted with the Fremantle players for 'The Burning Question' on Docker TV.
But despite the vote of confidence from his teammates, Sutcliffe refused to look beyond the next training session.
“I don’t look into that at all,” he said.
“I just want to keep putting in the hard work. You don’t know where you’re going to go unless you do the hard work.”
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