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New Fremantle signing Blake Acres is set to be unleashed into the open spaces of Optus Stadium, with the former Saint slated to take on an outside midfield role at his new club.
The 24-year-old joins Fremantle as a part of significant windfall in a trade with St Kilda for Bradley Hill on Wednesday.
In exchange for Hill and a future third round selection, Fremantle received the talented midfielder, picks 10, 58 and future second and fourth round selections.
Acres said he felt he had an inconsistent 2019 season, but a conversation with new Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir gave him confidence he could improve quickly at his new club.
“Longy’ was pretty keen on the wing role for me and I was pretty happy with that,” Acres said.
“I’m a player that moved around a bit at the Saints and had a variety of roles.
“The opportunity ‘Longy’s’ presented is more of a settled role and more just wing and maybe a little bit inside. I’m excited about that opportunity.
“(At St Kilda) I was changing my role each week but that was the role I had, to be that guy who could move around a bit.
“I probably played out of position a little bit but I was happy just to play that role and I would do the same thing again for Freo if that was needed.”
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Acres averaged 20.3 disposals in 2017 and 21.5 disposals in 2018 with his average dropping to 16.2 from 19 games in 2019.
He said he would be targeting a career-best year in the wing role at Fremantle.
“If I can play in my position more often than not throughout the year, hopefully, I can improve on what I did last year and in my first six years,” Acres said.
“I feel I have a lot more to offer than I have so far and, hopefully, I can put that to work on the field next season.”
Acres is already familiar with a handful of Fremantle players from his WA-State playing days, including Jesse Hogan and Cam McCarthy.
He said he would look to commence pre-season training ahead of schedule so he can get to know Fremantle’s 1-4 year players, who commence training in early November.
“I’ll be heading back to Melbourne to pack all of my stuff up, then I’ll head back (to WA), I’ll try and get back with all the young boys when they’re back running or a week after that,” Acres said.
“I’ll try to get back a bit early so I can meet the boys and get to work.”
As a result of the Acres trade, Fremantle will take two top-10 picks into the 2019 NAB AFL National Draft, holding selections seven, 10, 22, 58, 79 and 83.
Fremantle also hold three second round selections, as well as their first round selection, for the 2020 draft.