General manager of football Peter Bell has outlined the key factors Fremantle will address when the players return to the club for training on Monday.
Less than four weeks separate the first day back at training on 18 May to Fremantle’s return clash, with the second round slated to commence from Thursday 11 June.
On Monday, when all players return to their respective clubs, they will be limited to non-contact training in groups of eight.
On top of the training session, Bell said the screening of the players would be a priority.
“The return enables physical screening to take place to make sure we get an accurate indication of their current levels of fitness and to plan around that,” Bell said.
“We need to make sure we’re not putting our players at risk (of injury).”
Under AFL guidelines, Fremantle’s strength and conditioning staff were prevented from monitoring the progress of the players during the shutdown period.
Bell said he was confident the group did the work required throughout the eight-week shutdown.
“They have been really compliant with the programs that have been put in place,” Bell said.
“There will be guys at varying levels, just as far as their access to gym equipment and facilities.
“Liam Henry, for example, as well as a few others, who have been in the far north-west of WA, didn’t have the same access to equipment and running tracks as some of the other players who remained in Perth.
“There will be a bit of variation across the group. We weren’t able to monitor the players at all during the lockdown period but I’m very confident in their work ethic and compliance.”
Bell added that Monday’s session would also provide an important change of scenery.
“It will be an opportunity for great respite from a mental health perspective, the guys are probably very sick of training in pairs while socially distancing and kicking the ball in groups of two,” Bell said.
“This will enable larger drills to take place, albeit without contact, and it will also allow some interaction with coaches as well.
“That’s the exciting part of the first phase of a return to training.”
Following the training period, Fremantle will relocate to a hub on the Gold Coast alongside West Coast, Adelaide and Port Adelaide.
The club is set to spend at least four weeks at the hub and play at least four games at either Metricon Stadium or the Gabba.
Bell said Fremantle would work closely with West Coast to organise travel arrangements.
“Without knowing exactly when we will be playing our first game, there will be some discussion with West Coast in regards to a charter flight,” Bell said.
“I assume we’ll all be flying at the same time up to the Gold Coast. We’ll work out what that looks like in collaboration with West Coast.”