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Blakely 'fit and firing'

Connor Blakely is looking to improve his fitness base and strength in 2018. Connor Blakely spoke to media in week one of pre-season

Freo defender Connor Blakely is focussing on improving his fitness base to earn some time in Freo's midfield in 2018 after a discussion with Ross Lyon at the end of last season.

The 21-year-old played the majority of 2017 in Freo’s backline, his best performance against West Coast in the round 17 derby saw him gather 33 touches and lay six tackles.

“I spoke to Ross at the end of the season and he said I’d look to play a bit of a mixture between the midfield and half back,” Blakely said. 

“There are a few things I need to work on, but I’m mainly focusing on increasing my speed, becoming more powerful and building my fitness base so I can run out games better.”

Blakely said he will look to teammates Nat Fyfe, Lachie Neale and David Mundy for advice when it comes to playing in the middle and continue to work with the club’s strength and conditioning staff.

“You take a bit from all of the guys who play there like Fyfe, Lachie and Dave Mundy, you always try to grab a little bit of everyone,” he said. 

“I will be working closely with Jason Weber to work on my speed and power. 

“We do a lot of sprinting exercises during warm-up so it’s about converting those techniques into your game so they come naturally when you get fatigued." 

A shoulder injury suffered in round 19 ruled Blakely out of the remainder of the season, but the defender said he was confident he had recovered well. 

“My shoulder is feeling really good, the idea of having the surgery straight away was so that I could get myself right and fit and firing for pre-season,” Blakely said.

“As of next week I’ll be into full training, so I am looking forward to that.”

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