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McCarthy adapting to a quicker game

Cam McCarthy noticed the speed of the game had increased after being out of the game for over a year. Cam McCarthy speaks about his first game back to footy.

The first thing Cam McCarthy noticed in his return to football was how much faster the game is in 2017.

McCarthy played his first match in over a year in last Saturday’s JLT Community Series clash with West Coast in Geraldton. It was also the former Giant’s first senior appearance for Fremantle, and the 21-year-old had a quiet day at half-forward with seven disposals.

Most importantly, McCarthy got through the game unscathed. After kicking 35 goals as a 19-year-old in his first full season for GWS in 2015, the South Fremantle Product will use the coming month to get back to his best ahead of round one.

“My body was pretty sore on Sunday morning that’s for sure,” McCarthy said.

“I’m over it now, and it was really good to have a run around and play some serious footy again.”

In McCarthy’s year out of football, the AFL made a handful of rule changes that have changed the game, including a stricter interpretation of the deliberate out-of-bounds rule and cutting the interchange cap to 90. 

As a result, general play has opened up and become more free flowing. According to Champion Data, stoppages dropped from 60.8 per game in 2015 to 53.3 per game in 2016.

“It took me a while to get used to the speed of it again,” McCarthy said.

“Our pre-season was tough, but you can’t really prepare for match fitness.

“It’s just the intensity of it, it’s really fast and it’s definitely quicker than last time I played footy that’s for sure.”

McCarthy will make the most of the two remaining JLT games to build his match fitness and gel with a side that saw five players pull on the Fremantle jumper for the first time.

Fremantle plays is Collingwood on Saturday 4 March at Rushton Park in Mandurah.

“We can build leading into round one,” McCarthy said. 

“It’s good for the whole group to gel together and to get these games under our belt.

“We can get to know everyone and learn our roles for what we have to take into the year. I’m looking forward to it and I can wait for the season to start.”

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