A week out from NAB Cup, Fremantle had an intra-club practice match at Patersons Stadium.
After months of pre-season training, Freo’s players finally got the chance to pull on the jumpers for a competitive fixture this morning at the club’s intra-club practice match.
It was Freo purples versus Freo whites, but the intensity and desperation was no different to what Ross Lyon will expect when his troops face up to other AFL teams.
Players tackled hard and the sound of bodies crunching into each other echoed around an empty Patersons Stadium throughout the morning.
On the field, Cam Sutcliffe impressed in the midfield for the white team, before he changed to the purple team later in the game.
The second-year South Australian, known as ‘Squeak’ to his teammates, is the sort of player who keeps putting himself in positions to get the ball through his tireless running.
He was prolific and classy with his delivery and showed he could be ready to stake his claim for a spot in the midfield this season.
In the ruck, the white team’s Aaron Sandilands dominated his understudies, Craig Moller and Jack Hannath.
The three-time All Australian used his size and strength to out body the younger pair.
However, Moller’s impressive leap helped him get high in the centre bounces and he will look forward to bulking up as he continues his development.
Hannath provided a target when he moved forward and looked good in kicking a couple of goals.
Opposition sides will have their hands full this season if the foot skills displayed by Stephen Hill and Danyle Pearce this morning were an indication of things to come.
The pair worked well together for the white team and fired darting passes all over Patersons Stadium.
Michael Walters was also sublime with his delivery, and Hayden Ballantyne floated between midfield and forward to win plenty of the ball.
Luke McPharlin and Alex Silvagni partnered up in defence for the purple team and took on a variety of opponents, including Hannath, Moller and Craig Howson.
Max Duffy made a couple of costly turnovers for the purple team, but he showed brilliant turn-of-foot on two occasions to get behind the defence and create havoc.
He first kicked a classy goal on the run from just inside 50 near the boundary line, and then created a goal for his teammate after an eye-catching run across the wing that included multiple bounces.
The game also saw solid returns for a number of injury-struck Fremantle Dockers, including Viv Michie, who has not played a competitive match in two years, and Alex Forster, whose debut 2012 season was ruined by hip surgery.
Josh Mellington missed most of 2012 with a severe hamstring injury, but he also looked better as the game wore on.
Peter Faulks copped a knock, but he continued on and there were no other injuries to report.
Captain Matthew Pavlich and star midfielders David Mundy and Nat Fyfe were among the absentees, while Chris Mayne, Nick Suban, Zac Clarke and Zac Dawson also did not suit up.