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Fremantly Football Club

Sandi fired up for ‘big battle’

Sandi makes his return Aaron Sandilands is looking forward to his return in RAC Derby 50 at Optus Stadium this Saturday night

Aaron Sandilands is expecting a huge challenge as he returns to football after more than a year out of the game in Saturday night’s RAC Derby 50 at Optus Stadium.

With two evenly matched midfields, the winner in the middle could easily be decided by the rucks.

The intriguing matchup includes three ruckmen who are recently returning from injury.

Sandilands will play his first game since round 13, 2018, while forward/ruck Rory Lobb is playing his first game since being ruled out with a foot injury following Freo’s round 11 clash against Collingwood.

Both Nic Naitanui and Tom Hickey played less than 60 per cent game time last weekend in West Coast’s win against Hawthorn, as Naitanui made his return from a knee reconstruction.

Sandilands said he was looking forward to riding the wave of fan support for the Freo home game.

“Derbies are always the ones you want to play in, obviously the whole State gets behind it so I’m just excited it’s a home derby for us,” Sandilands said.

“West Coast have two quality ruckmen in with ‘Nic Nat’ and Hickey. With Rory and myself, we have a big battle and it’s one we're looking forward to.

“Rory’s had an outstanding season until he was injured, I’m looking forward to playing with him and us working together.”

Sandilands is the only Fremantle player aged 35 or more to represent the club and on Saturday, he will also become the first 36-year-old to play for Freo.

He said he has worked hard to build up his match fitness on the training track.

“I’m feeling really good,” Sandilands said.

“I got a fair bit of work in in the past month with a lot of match simulation training. I’m really happy with where I’m at at the moment.

“No doubt (it feels good to be back) when you spend so much time out of the game, you realise how much you miss playing.

“When I was told I was playing, it was just really exciting to know that I’ll be back in the side.”

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