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Youngest Freo team in almost a decade

Scott Jones and Stefan Giro are presented with the jumpers ahead of their debut on Sunday. Stefan Giro and Scott Jones are presented with their match jumpers ahead of their debut.

Fremantle’s round 11 team named for Sunday’s clash with Collingwood is the club’s youngest in almost eight years, according to Champion Data.

Fremantle will field six 2018 debutants and five first-year players – the most in the AFL this season - as senior coach Ross Lyon follows through with his pledge to ‘double down’ on playing youth.

Of those, midfielder Stefan Giro and ruckman Scott Jones will make their debuts alongside fellow 2017 draftees Andrew Brayshaw, Adam Cerra, Bailey Banfield and second-year player Taylin Duman.

Barring two ‘outlier’ games, where Fremantle rested players ahead of the finals, this is Fremantle’s youngest team in terms of experience and games played since 2003.

The average age of Fremantle’s starting 22 for Sunday’s Sir Doug Nicholls Round clash is 23.1, the youngest since Fremantle rested seven senior players for a trip to Tasmania to face Hawthorn ahead of the 2010 finals series.

Fremantle’s average age that day was 22.8, with the likes of captain Matthew Pavlich and star midfielder Paul Hasleby sitting out the trip to Launceston in what resulted in a 116-point loss against a team below Fremantle on the ladder.

Outside of that game, you need to go back 15 years for the last time Fremantle fielded a younger team, with an average age of 23.02 years in round seven of the 2003 season.

In terms of experience since 2003, Fremantle’s 55.1 games for this weekend is only higher than the 2010 Hawthorn game (51.2 games) and the 2015 round 23 clash with Port Adelaide (52.5 games)  – when Fremantle made 12 changes ahead of the finals.

Twelve out of Fremantle’s starting 22 for Sunday have arrived at the club in the past two years, including eight through the draft in Braysaw, Cerra, Banfleid, Giro, Jones, Duman, Brennan Cox Luke Ryan and four through trades in Joel Hamling, Nathan Wilson, Cam McCarthy and Shane Kersten.

So far this season, Fremantle’s five 2018 debutants have played 41 games – six more than the second most this season (Geelong).

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