Fremantle hit the track for an ‘intense’ final main training session before they officially kick off their pre-season, according to forward Lachie Schultz
Freo take on Carlton on Saturday at David Grays Arena, and Wednesday’s session was a chance for the team to focus on how they plan to take on the Blues.
While Nat Fyfe and Michael Walters spent one drinks break talking tactics for Friday night’s All Star game, the chatter at the huddles focused on keeping the intensity high ahead of the weekend.
“It was a great session today, it was our last main session before going into our first Marsh Series game against Carlton. The vibe was high and all the boys were raring to go,” Schultz said.
“Having a couple of intraclubs in the past couple of weeks, the intensity really shoots up.
“We tried to simulate the way we think Carlton will play against us. To be able to put that into practice will have us ready for Saturday.”
Before rounding out the session with a quarter of footy, the players went through drills that focused on clearing the ball out of stoppages and moving the ball end-to-end.
The wind had a big effect on the end-to-end drill, which was played with limited space down one side of the ground.
With high numbers in a small area, the drill rewarded accurate kicks and those who were able to take the game on.
Blake Acres continued to show his form from the intraclub with his run and carry.
Rookie Isaiah Butters looked explosive and was hard to catch with ball in hand, doing well to hit Lloyd Meek with a pin-point pass as three opposition players closed in.
Exciting forward prospect Sam Sturt showed his strength in the drill, going in hard in a contest against Griffin Logue and winning the ball.
In a positive sign, rucks Sean Darcy and Meek took part in most of the session after they missed Freo’s intraclub last Friday.
The pair went head-to-head in the match simulation, with Darcy providing the highlight with a big contested mark over Meek at half forward.
Ethan Hughes continued to impress, with his intercept mark leading to an excellent end-to-end play that involved good delivery from Brett Bewley and running from Matt Taberner to get the ball forward.
First year midfielder Caleb Serong did well teaming up with Nat Fyfe and Connor Blakely in the middle, but the midfield of James Aish, Adam Cerra and Andrew Brayshaw had the best of it with the strong wind at their backs.
Schultz said competition was heating up for the two available wing roles, with Brett Bewley playing on first-year midfielder Michael Frederick in the simulation.
“Brett’s a gun, obviously he’s very fit, he’s training the house down. I expect a big year from him,” Schultz said.
“But we’ve got Blake Acres, James Aish and now even Michael Frederick, who’s put his hand up as well.
“The competition is definitely high there and it’s exciting to see what we can put together.”
Playing at half-forward, Schultz took on the likes of Stephen Hill and rookie draftee Jarvis Pina.
While Schultz feels he’s learning a lot off Hill, he’s thrilled with what he’s seeing from Pina.
“Jarvis is killing it at the moment. He’s a small little nippy defender, he’s really strong for his size and very quick. He’s been a good challenge for me this pre-season,” Schultz said.
“Stephen is really attacking. He runs very hard, he makes you very accountable so it’s definitely improved my defensive side of the game. I’ve taken a lot from Hilly.”
Away from the main session, David Mundy was running laps at close to full speed on the comeback trail from a fibula fracture.
Mundy then spent time with footy in hand, working on his kicking, marking and taking shots on goal.
After training with the group for the first time on Monday, Liam Henry spent time away from the group as expected, running laps as he builds his fitness after recovering from a dislocated knee cap sustained last August.
Following the session, senior coach Justin Longmuir had a number of one-on-one chats with the players, including Schultz.
“Justin’s a real hands on coach,” Schultz said.
“I’ve said before that my confidence has been lifting throughout this pre-season and I think Justin’s played a bit of a part in that.”