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Pearce hungry for key role

Ballas' cheeky wager with Pearce Alex Pearce is looking for redemption at the next 2km time trial after losing to Hayden Ballantyne.

Key defender Alex Pearce believes his best football is yet to come and is looking to take a big step forward in his second pre-season back from a broken leg.

Speaking to the media on Friday, the 23-year-old was asked if he could see a resemblance between his and Nat Fyfe’s return from a similar injury a year prior.

“Myself and Fyfey, obviously we’re coming from different levels,” Pearce said.

“He was coming from a Brownlow Medal, I was coming from playing 20 games when I broke my leg.

“I hope that I’ve got a lot more improvement in me and I’m still aiming for the next five or six years to really hit my best football.

“I’m definitely aiming to get a lot better and take my game to another level.”

While Pearce believes his best is still a handful of years away, he is hungry to play a key role as Fremantle looks to push up the ladder in 2019.

“It’s going to be a gradual improvement and I want to get as good as I can as quickly as I can to give us the best chance of being successful,” Pearce said.

“What Nathan’s been able to do gives me confidence and I hope I can take a similar path and keep improving.”

After taking on a limited load this time last year, Pearce feels he has an excellent chance to build towards his best this pre-season.

“Last pre-season, I was coming off a couple of years out, so everything was very slow and I progressed quite slowly,” Pearce said.

“I trained twice a week and was monitored very heavily.

“We’ve already spoken about doing a bit more football and definitely after Christmas, I’ll be doing all three football sessions, which will be really handy.

“The more run that I get in the legs over a long-term…I think when you get a couple of pre-seasons in a row of good quality training, it can really pay dividends. I hope that will happen over the next year or two.”

Pearce spoke highly of teammate Stephen Hill, who will take on a restricted pre-season program due to issues with his quad.

Hill was restricted to 13 games in 2018 and Pearce believes the versatile midfielder has what it takes to get back to his best.

“I’ve spoken to Stephen a couple of times, he always keeps a very positive mindset about things and never gets too down on himself,” Pearce said.

“He’ll be fine, there’s always these little injuries that happen when you’re not 100 per cent sure of exactly what’s causing it, but we’ve got some great strength staff and physios that will help him out.

“Stephen is probably one of my favourite players to play with. He gives absolutely everything and he’s got a great football brain. He’ll do a lot of hard work over the next few months. 

“He’s played over 200 games now and he will be vital for us in a leadership role when he plays. I’ve got no doubt that Stephen will do everything right to get himself back and continue to be a great player for this club.”

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