Fremantle head into the 2022 season with an increasingly deep line of small forwards, and Sam Switkowski says the group has a mantra that should allow the collective to hit the scoreboard at a higher rate.
Switkowski may not have been one of Fremantle’s 12 goal scorers in Friday’s practice match against West Coast at Mineral Resources Park, but he was pleased to see his fellow small forwards dominate, with Michael Frederick (five), Travis Colyer (three), Bailey Banfield (three), Lachie Schultz (two) and Joel Western all having an impact.
“The boys got on the end of a few on the weekend, which is great. We’ve got a real mantra in our group to have an unselfish mindset, so there’s going to be certain guys pop up and kick bags in different weeks and some guys won’t, and that’s fine,” Switkowski said.
“It doesn’t matter who kicks them, as long as the team’s putting them through we’ll get more wins on the board.
“Our depth has certainly improved and it helps having a healthy list. The boys came back from the off-season super healthy, so we were able to progress our training and get lots of match sim in.
“All that sprint training and match sim practice really protects us, it protects our bodies for the season that’s coming. We know it can be a long year and we’re certainly ready for it.”
Since making his debut in 2018, Switkowski has played 32 games, including 12 in 2021. The 25-year-old’s goal for 2022 is to play as much football as possible after a number of injury interrupted seasons.
“I’d love to be out there as much as I can. Everyone knows the inconsistency I’ve had in getting out on the field and I’m certainly in the best place body wise than I have been since I came to Freo,” Switkowski said.
“I’m doing everything I can just to stay out there, like all our forwards and our whole team. Hopefully, we can have most of the boys out there this year and use our depth, that will help us get a bit further up the ladder.
Switkowski’s 2021 came to an unfortunate end in the final round, subbed off with a painful hip injury after a collision in Fremantle’s 58-point loss to St Kilda.
“It was a weird injury that set me back for a bit. Fortunately, I was able to do most of the off-season program, I healed a lot quicker than I thought,” Switkowski said.
“The loss to St Kilda was a really disappointing way to end the season last year being on the brink of finals and not being able to get it done in that last game.
“We’ve put that behind us now, it’s fuel that we use and our eyes are set on 2022.”
Switkowski hopes to let his football do the talking after his inclusion in a Champion Data report from mid-February that rated him along Sean Darcy as Fremantle’s two ‘elite’ players.
He said he expects there to be many more Fremantle players on the list come this time next year.
“I try not to read into that too much, it was a cool bit of recognition but I’m not sure exactly how they put together their data from their stats,” Switkowski said.
“Seany was in there as well which is a testament to his season last year. I reckon we’ll have a few more this year, which should show how we go.”