It’s been baby steps for Alex Pearce on the road to recovery from an ankle injury, and the key defender was pleased to take much bigger strides alongside Nathan Wilson on the training track on Friday.

Pearce is recovering from the injury sustained in round 11 last season while Wilson missed the final four games of 2019 with a foot injury.

 Now that the backmen have resumed running, they will gradually increase their speed and running loads until they are able to take part in full training. 

“It was my first run in a long time. I’ve been building up for a little while, so it’s nice to be able to finally get to this point,” Pearce said. 

“Even though it was just a little bit of a jog, it was good to get out there.

“My whole rehab is based on how much I’m running and how fast I’m running, so we did need to get to that start point. Even though it’s small, today is where it starts.

“It was really good for 'Willo'. It was a good moment for him to be out there and, hopefully, now we can progress together and things can move pretty quickly for both of us.”

01:59 Mins
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Pearce up and running

Alex Perce returned to the track following his ankle injury from last year.

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There were more positive signs on Friday for Freo, with Jesse Hogan and Stephen Hill taking part in many of the drills with the main group.

Hogan played 12 games in his debut Freo season while Hill has been limited to 16 games in his past two seasons.

“I’ve really missed seeing Stephen out there and playing alongside him,” Pearce said.

“He’ll be just like a new recruit for us this year when he comes out. I’m really excited to see what he can do.

“Jesse has been back for a week or two now and he’s looking really good. 

“He’s always a great trainer and a great player, so it’s good to give him a few weeks in a row and then hopefully, he can be back soon and play some good footy by the time we start playing games.”