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Midfield beckons for Brayshaw

Andrew Brayshaw addressed the media on Monday. Andrew Brayshaw talks to the media on the first day of pre-season.

With the departure of Lachie Neale in the 2018 NAB AFL Trade Period, Fremantle’s Andrew Brayshaw has set his sights on spending more time in the midfield in 2019.

Fremantle invested heavily in the midfield in the 2017 National Draft, including taking Brayshaw with pick no.2 and Adam Cerra with pick no.5.

Brayshaw feels now is the time for Fremantle's young midfielders to take the opportunity on.

“I’ll definitely be having a go,” Brayshaw said. 

“Obviously, (Lachie was) one of our starting mids so there’s going to be that role open. Now there’s a bit of opportunity, we’ll see some of our younger guys get some time in there.

“I know Connor Blakely’s been talking about coming through the midfield a bit more, so there’s a lot of guys who are really looking forward to having a go at that spot."

Brayshaw returned to the club on Monday with his fellow first to four-year players. 

He said building his fitness and strength will be crucial for a big 2019.

“I’d love to be as fit as I can. Given that midfield spot has opened up, you have to be as fit as you can to get those minutes in,” Brayshaw said.

“Body work is probably my main thing. Last year being a bit of a smaller body, I’ve been trying to put on a bit of weight and be that inside hard-nosed midfielder.”

The midfielder lived with Neale and now wife Jules during the 19-year-old’s first season at the club, with Brayshaw saying he was thankful for the guidance he received in his first year. 

Brayshaw plans to take on a similar role when Fremantle’s new draftees arrive in late November.

“It was pretty tough hearing that Lachie was no longer going to be with us but he’s taught me so much and I still look up to him,” Brayshaw said.

“I’m trying to take on a bit more of a leadership role now. I can’t wait to get our draftees in and, hopefully, teach them a few things and talk them through the challenges that I had in my first year.”

Brayshaw added that he was excited to get to work with Fremantle’s new signings through the Trade/Free Agency periods, in forwards Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb and midfielders Travis Colyer and Reece Conca.

“Those guys, I’ve seen a lot of their footy and they seem like really good players,” Brayshaw said.

“From what Angus (Brayshaw) has told me about Jesse, he’s a really good bloke as well.

“I‘m looking forward to getting to know them and, hopefully, link up through the midfield and put it down their throat.”

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