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Hughes enjoying healthy competition  January 31, 2018 1:17 PM

Ethan Hughes addressed the media on Wednesday.

Despite playing full-time footy for Fremantle in 2017, Ethan Hughes is not taking his place in Freo’s starting 22 for granted.

The defender broke into Freo’s side in round three against the Western Bulldogs last season, playing 18 of the remaining 19 games for the year.

During the off-season, Fremantle has added to their defensive stocks through Nathan Wilson, while Alex Pearce is also looking to make a return into Freo’s back six. 

“There’s always competition, there are 45 guys on the list who are vying for a spot for round one, so we’re doing our best to get ready,” Hughes said.

“There’s plenty of young guys who have come into the club the past two years, so they’re all trying to put their name forward to give themselves the best opportunity to strive for something better.”

Hughes also highlighted the importance of maintaining experience in Freo’s youthful defence, with 231-game veteran Michael Johnson looking to repeat his 2017 efforts and play every game.

“I’ve always looked up to Jonno, he’s an experienced head. If I can pick his brains and learn from him, that’s what I’m going to do,” Hughes said.

“We’re all very competitive for spots and I’m sure Jonno…he’s rocked up for another pre-season and he's going to get himself in his best shape and be ready for the season ahead.

“We’re all fighting for spots, it’s good for the team. For the individual, we’re just going to compete.”

Hughes, who has played 24-career games for Freo, underwent surgery on his wrist in the off-season.

While admitting that the surgery wasn’t ideal, Hughes says he was able to return to the club in good shape.

“I had a bit of surgery in the off-season but that’s all good now. It was in a cast for a little while,” Hughes said.

“It’s been a little bit different (to previous pre-seasons) but I was still running around, so I had plenty of time to get my fitness back up and going which was good.

“I’ve come into the pre-season flying, so I’m ready to go.”