Fremantle’s main training session on Friday featured three 10-minute periods of match simulation as they continued with pre-season preparations.
The two-hour session included the usual warm ups before running through some training drills, with a match sim to round out the final half hour of the session.
The match sim pitted Red against Purple, with both teams consisting of an even mix of players including draftees Neil Erasmus and Matthew Johnson and new recruits Jordan Clark and Will Brodie.
Lloyd Meek, Brodie, Darcy Tucker and Erasmus took their place in Red’s midfield, while Sean Darcy, Andrew Brayshaw, Connor Blakely and Mitch Crowden lined up in the middle for Purple.
Brayshaw and Brodie went head-to-head for most of the match in what was a great battle as the Gold Coast recruit showed his strength in the contest and Brayshaw had some classy moments with his clearance work.
Sean Darcy’s tap work and follow up was fantastic in the ruck, showcasing his agility at times when he found space.
Clark was one of the standouts of the match, showing his pace off half back and composure with ball in hand to make an impact on many of Purple’s attacking plays.
In similar fashion for Red, Sam Switkowski worked his way up the ground as a half forward to have an impact through the midfield with his pace and clearance work. He also kicked a nice goal in the third period, snapping around his body on the run after receiving a handball off the back of a pack.
Blakely worked hard throughout all three periods to win the contested ball and was rewarded with a nice snap goal out of the pack in the second period.
Blake Acres matched up with Liam Henry on the wing and had some great moments when he found some space, setting up Purple’s attack with multiple entries inside 50.
On the opposite wing, Nathan O’Driscoll battled with Johnson and showed his ability to consistently create a contest, which was highlighted by a brilliant spoil going back with the flight of the ball and a desperate goal-saving tackle on Jordan Clark, earning high praise from his fellow teammates.
Johnson’s ability to evade in tight situations was evident, as he also presented nicely in the forward line and leapt for his marks.
It was great to see Red’s Heath Chapman back in full flight running off half back with a couple of nice one-twos throughout the match, while Hayden Young showed he was recovering well from a pre-Christmas surgery by taking part down back for Purple.
Overall, Red’s overlap handball through the corridor was exceptional and setup two great goals, the best of which involved Tucker, Brodie, O’Driscoll, Switkowski and Bailey Banfield who finished the play off nicely with a goal from the pocket.
Alex Pearce had the key matchup on Rory Lobb and moved really well, dashing out of the backline with ease at times to launch an attack for Red.
Five Peel players also featured in the match in Luke Polson, Roy George, Jack Sears, Jarrad McIlvinney and Wade Derksten, highlighted by Polson kicking the opening goal of the match sim and George taking an imrpessive mark at half forward.