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‘Burning desire’ kept defender going

Alex Pearce spoke to media ahead of Monday's training session. Alex Pearce talks to media about his leg injury, the road to recovery and being back on the first day of pre-season.

Alex Pearce says he had never given up hope of one day returning to play for Fremantle.

The defender broke his leg against Richmond in round nine of the 2016 season and had a further set back ahead of the 2017 season with another fracture in the tibia in his right leg.

Despite going through some tough times, Pearce said giving up was not an option. 

“Never…there’s a burning desire just to get back and play AFL football and that’s never wavered,” Pearce said.

“That’s what kept me going and in the downtimes, that’s what helped me get through.

“I’m just so passionate about getting back and playing with the boys and get back to where I was.”

Pearce was joined at Monday’s skills and running session by fellow first to fourth-year players who did not feature in Peel’s finals series; Connor Blakely, Darcy Tucker, Ed Langdon, Cam McCarthy, Brady Grey, Ethan Hughes and Michael Apeness.

“It’s exciting,” Pearce said.

“It’s always good to be back and, especially for myself, to come back in and join in with some more footy and continue that road to recovery.”

“There aren’t many of us here today as there are a few boys away due to WAFL finals, but it’s good to see a few familiar faces and to catch up with everyone.

“I’ve looked forward to coming back for a while now and continue that road towards getting back and playing footy.”

Ahead of the session, Pearce told media that his off-season program meant he would be able to hit the ground running on the track.

“I’m getting pretty close to where I need to be to join in with full training,” Pearce said.

“It’s all gone really well and I’m feeling really strong. I’ve been able to get back to doing a bit more speed work as well as kicking a footy – it’s starting to feel a bit more like football (training) at the moment.”

The 22-year-old said that he will soon have a schedule that maps out his return.

“I’m going to take it very slow after everything that’s happened,” Pearce said.

"There’s no real timeline yet on when I’m due back to training fully. I’ll have some meetings over the next few days and I’ll find out where that is.

“We’ve already mapped out what that training looks like when I do get back. It will be slightly modified to get me through that whole pre-season and get me ready for AFL football next year.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs