Kepler Bradley talks to DockerTV about Fremantle's added height in this year's draft.
We needed to draft young guys that can play for 10 years
Kepler Bradley says Fremantle needed the influx of young talls it drafted last year if the club is to remain a contender in the coming years.
The 199cm Bradley was one of just five players on Freo’s 2012 list taller than 194cm.
But the arrival of ruckmen Jack Hannath (201cm) and Craig Moller (204cm), and key position players Tanner Smith (196cm), Alex Howson (195cm) and Matthew Taberner (197cm), has transformed the club into a land of the giants.
“We needed to draft young guys that can play for 10 years,” Bradley said.
“We’re going to need as many tall forwards as we can, and the blokes we’ve recruited have shown on the track that they’re worthy and they’re going to be very good players.”
One such tall has been 21-year-old South Australian recruit Hannath, who has had experience at senior level with Central Districts in the SANFL.
“You can tell on the track that he’s played at that level before,” Bradley said.
“His body work around the stoppages is very good.
“A guy that’s not a ruckman but that I think is going to be very good is Josh Simpson.
“The way he gets around the ground is unbelievable and he’s got the best sidestep I’ve seen in a while.”
Bradley has mainly been utilised as a forward who also backed-up Aaron Sandilands in the ruck over the past few seasons.
The 27-year-old said the armada of talls to Freo meant his best chance of winning a spot in the team this year was as a permanent forward.
“We’ve got a lot of ruck options now, so I think I’m going to be a stay-athome forward with a little bit of pinch-hitting in the ruck, but I wouldn’t say as much as in previous years,” he said.
“We’ve got ‘Griffo’ (Jon Griffin), who is more of a ruckman than a forward, and Zac Clarke is probably half and half at this stage.”
Bradley admitted the advent of key position talent at the club had put the pressure on him to earn his spot.
“It’ll keep me on my toes, but it will keep everyone on their toes,” he said.
“I think competition is good. We’ve drafted a lot of midfielders as well, so a lot of the midfield guys feel that same pressure.
“Where we’re going - we want to play finals - everyone needs pressure.
“Pressure is good and it makes us all better.”
Bradley has ramped up his pre-season preparations this year following a delayed start.
“I had tendonitis in my left foot, but that came good and I’m in full training now.
“I’ve done everything from Christmas onwards bar one week. I’m fully fit and ready for the NAB cup.”