A positive pre-season has only made the AFL’s shut down period harder to take for Taylin Duman, with the defender hungry to get back with his teammates and playing football as soon as possible.
Duman feels Fremantle are on the cusp of something special under new senior coach Justin Longmuir, and hopes fans will have the chance to see the benefits of the team’s work later this year.
“We had a really strong pre-season. It was disappointing that we can’t keep translating that into games now as the boys had a great summer,” Duman told 6PR.
“Justin Longmuir’s brought a few new ideas, he’s been really great at trying to build relationships with all the boys.
“It’s bringing a new freshness to the club, which everyone has jumped on board with.
“We’re eager to play more games. I think we saw in the pre-season and a little glimpse against Essendon in round one, when we string it all together, we can be a really good team.”
Duman will use the coming months to work on both his strength and fitness as he continues to develop as a tall and mobile defender.
The 21-year-old has put on approximately 10kg since joining Fremantle four years ago as a rookie.
He played his 25th career game against Essendon and was a regular in 2019, playing 14 games while averaging more than five marks.
“I’ve still got to keep my running ability up so I tend to play a bit smaller than my size. It’s keeping a good balance of aerobic capacity as well as continually trying to add a few kilos each year,” Duman said.
“I think the first time I weighed in at Freo I was about 73 kilos, my first year I put on a lot.
“I didn’t play an AFL game that year so I had a lot of time in the gym and was just figuring out what the AFL system was like. From there I put on just a few more.”
While putting on muscle has been a priority for the 193cm Duman, he said it was important to also optimise his running capacity so he can handle some of the game’s best small forwards.
“I’ve been caught out a few times on blokes like Jordan De Goey, Charlie Cameron – those small forwards who have that real explosive power,” Duman said.
“They can be really hard to match up on. You can’t give them that space down back as they’ll just take all that grass in front of them.
“You have to be really smart in the way you play, if you give them anything they’ll make something out of nothing.”
There is a positive to the stand down for Duman, having the opportunity to spend more time with his partner and daughter Ayla, who was born in February.
“(Becoming a father) definitely changes your life just like that and I’m loving every moment of it,” Duman said.
“It gives you a different perspective on life. If you have a bad day at work or training it’s really good just to come home and see her and everything else just gets pushed to the back of your mind.
“I’m really loving being a father.”