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Hamling ready to go again

Defender Joel Hamling addressed the media on Tuesday. Joel Hamling spoke to the media after Sunday's practice match against West Coast.

Fremantle’s Joel Hamling is looking forward to the challenge of taking on cross-town rivals West Coast for the second time in as many weeks on Sunday at HBF Arena.

The defender played a key role in keeping West Coast to nine goals in Freo’s 29-point scratch match win at Lathlain Park on Sunday but is expecting a bigger challenge against a more experienced Eagles outfit this weekend.

A number of West Coast forwards were either injured or rested for the Lathlain Park clash, including Kennedy (ankle), Jack Darling, Mark LeCras and Jamie Cripps.

West Coast could also bring back captain Shannon Hurn, Jeremy McGovern from concussion as well as midfielders Andrew Gaff and Luke Shuey. 

Fremantle named a number of their first-year players against the Eagles, including new draftees Andrew Brayshaw, Adam Cerra and rookie Bailey Banfield, while Nat Fyfe will return as captain. 

“It’s good exposure as the Eagles have some great players,” Hamling said.

“On Sunday, we went out and played and they were missing nine of their starting 22, so to get them back again will be another big challenge on Sunday.

“We’ll be getting our game plan right, knowing the things we want to do, learning from the summer and getting those small things fine-tuned and back in order.”

Hamling, who arrived at Fremantle from the Western Bulldogs during the 2016 Trade Period, is using the pre-season to get used to playing alongside a new-look backline with the addition of Nathan Wilson from GWS and return of Alex Pearce from a broken leg.

“It’s a new back six, Luke Ryan’s starting to establish himself now, he’s played a bulk of senior football,” Hamling said.

“Nathan Wilson’s an established player as well, as Alex Pearce who is coming back. It’s really exciting for the club and the supporters.

“Alex is a well-driven individual. For his age, he’s only 22 but the way he goes about it in training on and off the field, he’s certainly a leader of this club. I wouldn’t be surprised he has his comeback (in round one).”

With Pearce standing at 200cm, the 194cm Hamling says he’s happy to share the role of taking on the key opposition forward in 2018.

“It chops and changes on who plays on the starting forward with higher presses and things like that,” Hamling said.

“I’m not sure who would start on the key forward, it all depends on matchups and different players speed and strengths and things like that.

“Match committee sits down week to week and they work it out. If it’s me I’m happy to go again, if it’s Alex I’m happy to support him.”

After spending the lead-up to Christmas in the rehabilitation group due to a groin injury, Hamling said he’s back to feeling fully fit.

“It’s all good now, I had a pretty solid pre-season just after Christmas and I’m feeling good to go now,” Hamling said.

“I’ve done six pre-seasons now and it’s my seventh year in the league. I’m confident in my body and my ability so it’s not going to hinder me at all.”

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