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Nicolette Barbas, Curtin University  April 10, 2018 6:39 PM

Luke Ryan addressed the media on Tuesday.

Defender Luke Ryan says that Fremantle’s back line is continuing to develop following the club’s win against Gold Coast on Saturday at Optus Stadium.

Ryan said the team’s back seven had benefitted from the addition of Nathan Wilson during the 2017 NAB AFL Trade Period as well as the return of key defender Alex Pearce from injury.

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Midfielder Stephen Hill has also moved back to help pitch in with the defensive unit.

“It’s taken a while to gel together but we’re slowly getting there” Ryan said.

“The addition of Nathan Wilson has been outstanding.”

“Having him and Stephen Hill back down there is really helping us as a back seven.” 

Ryan said Pearce’s play has been ‘phenomenal’, commending his ability to play one-on-one solidly. 

“We’ve all got to play one-on-one at some stage, but Alex is really strong,” Ryan said.

“If we can get across and help him, we will, but by the looks of it he doesn’t need it." 

Ryan said that each defender’s individual efforts combined to help strengthen the defence as a whole during Freo’s win against Gold Coast.

“We’re all accountable, we’re the ones defending” Ryan said.

“We used to consider ourselves a unit within a unit, but I think it helps when there’s pressure up forward.”

“The midfield pressure really helps us and makes our job a lot easier when they’re getting a not-so-clean possession through the midfield.” 

The defender’s decision-making and ball use skills were crucial on the weekend, with Ryan the only player to collect more than 20 disposals while running at 100 per cent efficiency,

Ryan credited the tutelage of the likes of Wilson and Hill for his successful start to the season.

“I’ve just come into my natural game,” Ryan said.

“I’m doing all the skill sessions out here and learning off ‘Willo’ and Stephen Hill really helps me.”

The ex-Coburg Lions defender says he seems to be finding himself in the ‘right spot’.

“I’ve done a full pre-season, feel a lot stronger and have put on more size”, Ryan said. 

“I think I’m just backing myself really.”

Ryan said this week’s game against the Giants is going to be a challenging one, but the team will keep building on the form that has seen Freo earn back-to-back wins.

“We’ll just keep sticking to what we’re doing and keep improving week in, week out” Ryan said.

“I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

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