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‘Basics’ to boost Freo’s 2019 hopes

Ballantyne's forward line assessment Hayden Ballantyne talks to the media ahead of training

Hayden Ballantyne believes a ‘back to basics’ approach will help see Fremantle improve in 2019. 

The small forward said he’s on track to hit his peak for round one and believes he’s in good company with the majority of his teammates.

“We’ve set our sights high and we’re optimistic of how well we’re training at the moment,” Ballantyne said. 

“If we can continue that and stay fit, our plan is to be fit and available for round one and all be on the same page. If we can achieve that, who knows what can happen.”

Ballantyne said the club did the basics well during Fremantle’s previous successful run between 2012 and 2015.

“I think the main thing then was that we were on the same page,” Ballantyne said.

“We all knew what we were going to do and so it made it a lot easier to play on instinct, which is how I really like to play as well.

“I think that’s what most teams that played finals did this year, they were on the same page and knew what each other were doing and they won games. 

“At the camp in the Gold Coast next week, that’s going to reinforce how we want to play and reinforce the game plan for us.” 

Ballantyne is hopeful that a revamped forward line, which includes new recruits Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb, will fire in 2019, but added that it was easy to be optimistic in the pre-season.

“I think our forward line, with a few more big guys down there, does look really good,” Ballantyne said. 

“But everyone’s got a great plan until you get punched in the face, Mike Tyson said that, so we’ll wait and see what happens.” 

After spending a part of his off-season training on a treadmill during an island cruise with his wife, Alyssa, Ballantyne feels fit and ready to build throughout the pre-season. 

He added that his Pilates training, which he commenced a year ago, has helped with injury prevention.

“I came back, ran a pretty good time trial and I’m feeling really good about getting around the ground,” Ballantyne said.

“With all of the soft tissues I had in my career, I prevented them last year so that’s been a big step forward for me, keeping a bit of flexibility and strength in my legs, my hamstring in particular so it’s working really well.”

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