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Pearce ready to go  February 22, 2018 5:17 PM

Alex Pearce chats to Docker TV from Optus Stadium.

It’s been a long time between Fremantle appearances for Alex Pearce, who is set to make his return to football on Sunday against Adelaide at Strathalbyn Oval, 55km south east of Adelaide.

The 22-year-old was named on Thursday in the 30-man extended squad, and if he plays, he will join a side that differs significantly from when he broke his leg in round nine of the 2016 season against Richmond.

Fremantle have taken in 22 new players since the 2016 off-season, with up to seven players set to make their first appearance in purple after being named alongside Pearce in the squad.

This includes fellow defender Nathan Wilson and new recruit Brandon Matera, alongside draftees Andrew Brayshaw, Adam Cerra, Stefan Giro, Lloyd Meek and Bailey Banfield. 

Second-year players Luke Ryan and Brennan Cox have also been nameed alongside 2016 recruits Bradley Hill, Cam McCarthy and Shane Kersten.

“There’s a lot of guys I haven’t played with yet,” Pearce said.

“There’s a few first-year players who are really looking good and we saw that in the AFLX with how well they went.

“Hopefully, they can get a game. It will be exciting for the fans to see them out there as well.”

Sunday’s game will mark 645 days since Pearce broke his leg, with the 200cm backman declaring he’s ready to play. 

“I’ll be hoping to play a few JLT games and push my selection for round one,” Pearce said. 

“I’ve done a fair bit of training during the off-season and I’m ready to go and available for selection.

“I’ll hopefully be playing a few games this pre-season and preparing for round one.”

Along with his teammates, Pearce will also have to grow accustomed to a new home ground in 2018, with the Freo side taking part in a training session at Optus Stadium on Thursday morning.

Fremantle’s first game at the venue will come in round two against Essendon on Saturday 24 March, with Pearce saying the session was all about getting familiar with the surroundings.

“It’s good to have this opportunity to come and look around at our new home ground and get a bit of a taste of how it will be when we run out in round two,” Pearce said.

“A few guys had some shots for goal and we had a bit of a walk around to take it all in and get used to the change rooms and things like that. It was a very light session today.”

Pearce added that he's excited about the prospect of playing in front of a huge home crowd. 

“It’s amazing really, when you step out and you see the big coliseum type feel," Pearce said.

"You can imagine what 60,000 people will be like in here, I can’t wait to test that out.”