Senior coach Justin Longmuir believes the Club is in a good position after a strong pre-season, highlighting several players in an in-depth radio interview on Thursday afternoon.
See how he broke down each line of Freo's list heading into the 2024 season.
“We got a little light in the midfield last season when we had a few injuries in the middle of the season,” Longmuir said on SEN WA
“We got a little younger through there, which came with its own consistency problems last year, so I feel like the competitiveness through the midfield has been the highlight in the pre-season.
“Johnno (Matthew Johnson) and Neil (Erasmus) look like they’ve taken their game to another level with another pre-season under their belt.
“Both seem to have gotten stronger and fitter, which has allowed them to bring their best to the match simulations.
“We’ve been playing Neil mainly as an insider with a little bit of forward, and Johnno’s a winger with a little bit of inside time. They’ve both been training really well and are really pushing for a spot in that midfield.
“Will Brodie is training really well, and Fyfey has put a really strong pre-season together.
“I don’t think with the injuries he’s had (Fyfe) he will ever be 100 per cent fit, but he’s had a cracking pre-season.
“We will look after him over the pre-season, there is a couple of six-day breaks between some of our games, and we will make sure he is cherry-ripe and in really good form for round one.
“O’Meara had a calf injury over the summer that’s held him a little bit, but he’s back in full training, he’ll do some minutes on Saturday, and we will look to build him pretty quickly, so he’s heading in the right direction.”
“You mix that (group of midfielders) with Youngy (Hayden Young), Andy (Brayshaw), and Caleb (Serong) in there and it’s been really competitive. They’ve pushed each other to really improve and go to another level, so that is going to be a pretty good problem to have in a couple of weeks when we have to pick one team.
“Sharpy (Jeremy Sharp) and (Nathan) O’Driscoll have both had really good pre-seasons; both have pushed each other to take their games forward. Matthew Johnson has spent a fair bit of time out there this pre-season, and Chappy (Heath Chapman) is an option out there as well.
“We’ve started to build some depth in that part of the ground, and we will work out what the mix looks like over the next couple of weeks, but we feel like we’ve got some good problems to have in selection.”
Longmuir said the forward line had been progressing nicely in the pre-season, with several younger players further developing their forward craft.
“We need to be able to lock the ball in the front half and put massive pressure on the opposition, so we need to strike that balance between offense and defence,” noted the senior coach.
“At this stage, we are probably leaning towards our best structure last year, which was the two genuine key forwards and the resting ruck, which was Luke (Jackson) at times, who in his own right is a very good tall forward.
“(Jackson) would have been on track to kick over 40 goals last year if we had stuck with the same structure and Sean (Darcy) hadn’t gotten injured.
“He spent large parts of the second half of the year in the ruck, obviously so that took him away from goals, but he was growing as a key forward.
“The beauty about having Luke down there is he usually takes the best key defender because of his height and mobility, so that allows Jye (Amiss) to get the second-best (defender), and so on to JT (Josh Treacy).
“We’ve got ambitions to give him an opportunity to play as a genuine mid as well, so he’s going to become a really flexible player for us into the future, but it’s probably going to be a needs basis that he plays as a key forward and ruck for us early in the season.
“(Cooper Simpson) is going well, the maturity he shows, and he’s applied himself really well in all assets of his footy, he’s just a pro. He’s really diligent with everything he does. When you see him train and the way he holds himself around the place.
“On top of that, he’s shown some highlights with his footy, and we will look to continue to develop him in a couple of different roles, he’s one of the inside mids that has the pace, ability, and forward nous to play forward of the ball. Early in his career, he will get the opportunity to play in the forward line… he’s shown a lot.
“JT has gone really well, he’s stepped up in a lot of different areas, and he’s gotten fitter and stronger.
“His leadership has really shone out, and he’s really embraced that side of the game. He’s a bit of an extrovert when it comes to the on-field stuff, so he’s been good in that sense.
“He’s taken his contested marks to another level as well, he’s taken some really strong contested marks in our match simulations.”
Longmuir only briefly touched on two defenders that are returning from injury.
“We are expecting (Brennan) Cox and (Brandon) Walker to both be ready, Cox is probably going to be a little bit tighter than Walks.
“Walker coming off that patella injury he did against Collingwood last year, he’s a long way ahead of his rehab, he’s been super diligent, and we will see him in match sim probably next week, so he’s going really well.
“We are probably expecting Cox to get back on track later next week, so they are both progressing, and we are expecting them to be ready for round one."
Fremantle will play their first official Intraclub match of the pre-season on Saturday morning, with the match start time being brought forward to 8am WST due to the forecasted heat.
Members and supporters are welcome to come down to the Cockburn ARC to watch the match.