Fremantle leader David Mundy understands better than anyone about the time it takes to develop into a competitive inside midfielder at AFL level.
While most of Mundy’s 302 games to date have been played in the middle, he started his career at half back for the bulk of his first 100 games.
In an interview with 6PR following Fremantle’s clash with Richmond on Sunday, the 33-year-old compared and contrasted his development with that of promising 19-year-olds Andrew Brayshaw and Adam Cerra.
Both Brayshaw and Cerra spent time through the middle against the Tigers, with Brayshaw rotating from half forward to attend nine centre bounces and Cerra switching from half back to attend five centre bounces.
Mundy said that his own progression illustrates the time needed to become proficient in what is arguably the AFL’s toughest position.
“I wasn’t exposed to (playing inside midfield) until I was 24 or 25 and physically and mentally, it’s a really hard gig,” Mundy said on 6PR.
“So (Brayshaw and Cerra) coming in and playing midfield from the start (of their careers) is abnormal in AFL football and I think they’re really doing well.
“They’re learning their craft and also learning about AFL football on the periphery on the half back and half forward.
“Looking forward, those are the guys that we’re investing in and hoping will really come on. I think the signs so far are pretty positive.”
Mundy felt that Fremantle’s ball movement faltered under Richmond’s pressure throughout the game.
He highlighted Freo’s unusually low uncontested mark total of 41, which was the lowest for round eight in the AFL and below the club’s season average of 73.6.
“Richmond all night and all season really like to play with that deep anchor (in defence) and we were quite poor with our ball use to draw them out,” Mundy said.
“I think we had 40 uncontested marks for the entire game, which is really low.
“Our ball movement going forward was really poor, on the back again of Richmond’s really excellent pressure.”