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Joel Hamling says he’s happy to deal with the expectations that come from being a premiership winning defender, as he looks to lock down a spot in Fremantle’s backline in 2017.
Hamling came to Fremantle in the 2016 NAB AFL Trade Period after winning a premiership with the Bulldogs in just his 23rd game of AFL football.
In the 2016 AFL Finals series, the 23-year-old played key shutdown roles on the likes of Sydney’s Buddy Franklin and West Coast’s Josh Kennedy, and plans to draw on that experience at Freo.
“(The expectations) are fine, I’m in my sixth season now,” Hamling said.
“I probably haven’t played as many games as I would have liked in my career, but I feel like I’ve got good enough experience to hold down (a key defender) position.
“Playing finals last year is a good step forward for me, and I’m excited to see what we can build this year with our key defenders in Michael Johnson, Zac Dawson and Sam Collins.
“It’s an exciting time for the club.”
It’s been a mixed pre-season for Hamling, who spent a significant amount of time away from the main training group after suffering a bout of food poisoning in late January.
But the former Claremont player worked hard to regain all of the weight he lost, and fared well in the JLT Community Series - featuring in all three games with strong performances in Freo’s wins against Carlton and Collingwood.
“I missed about a month at training all up,” Hamling said.
“I was sick there for a good two week period and I lost a bit of weight.
“It did take a bit of a toll but I’m back fit now and firing and ready to go for the start of the season.”