Senior coach Justin Longmuir is hopeful Fremantle can buck an AFL trend and start to hit their peak earlier than expected in 2022.
Fremantle’s list remains one of the youngest and most inexperienced in the AFL, with Freo naming either the youngest or second-youngest team in the AFL for the final four rounds of the 2021 season.
In an interview on 10 News Perth, Longmuir said AFL players are expected to find their feet between the 60 to 90 game mark.
Of the 38 players currently on Fremantle’s list, 50 per cent have less than 60 games experience and 71 per cent have less than 90 games top their name, but Longmuir said there was no reason to simply wait for the group to play more games before getting results.
“We want to fast track our players as quickly as we can. I think people within the industry, would say it takes 60 to 90 games for a player to feel comfortable at AFL level and we want to fast track that, we want to buck the trend,” Longmuir told 10 News Perth.
“We’re not going to give our players an out, we need to get them AFL ready and make sure they’re consistent performers at AFL level as fast as we can.
“It’s being really purposeful in the work we do, the way we set up the environment to learn from the experiences we go through, the way we make our players feel comfortable to be able to execute their role.
“I think a big thing in modern day footy is getting our players to live in the moment, move on from mistakes and not look too far ahead. There’s a lot that going into making a footy team and were trying to find the right recipe.”
Longmuir said Fremantle needed to have more player availability to improve.
“It’s (Fremantle’s injuries) have to be a combo of (process and bad luck) but I’m not going to say it’s unlucky as that means you’re wiping your hands and you’re not going to improve,” Longmuir said.
“We make sure we review every injury and make sure we don’t just keep on doing the same things. We’ll put a number of things in place over the pre-season to try and rectify our injury list.
“I feel like we’ve exited the season with as a healthier squad that we’ve had in a really good position to launch into pre-season.
“Most of the surgeries we had were before the season finished, so it’s given them a lot of time. Rory Lobb and Nat Fyfe went for surgery late in the season. The only guy that’s had surgery post-season is Matt Taberner. He’s carried that ankle injury all the way through the season since he hurt it and he just needed a little procedure to get that fixed. He’s the only one, which is a real positive.”
Longmuir said he was hopeful or defender Joel Hamling being ready to play in round one.
“Joel Hamling had surgery towards the end of the season. He’s impatient but he’s tracking in the right direction,” Longmuir said.
“We expect him to be close to training before Christmas and it’s a great sign, he’s got plenty of time to get his ankle right and fingers crossed it goes well for him and us.”