Fremantle’s assistant coaches have given a positive update on how their players are settling into week one of training following the AFL’s shutdown.

The playing list has been split into six groups of up to seven players and one dedicated assistant coach.

A further group of 10 players in James Aish, Andrew Brayshaw, Adam Cerra, Sean Darcy, Lloyd Meek, Lachie Schultz, Stam Sturt, Caleb Serong, Matt Taberner and Hayden Young will return to training on Friday after completing their mandatory 14-day self isolation following their arrival from interstate.

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'Finding the balance' | Justin Longmuir media conference

Justin Longmuir spoke to WA media in week one of 'return to training'

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Group 1: Josh Carr with Nat Fyfe, David Mundy, Michael Walters, Blake Acres, Connor Blakely, Darcy Tucker and Brett Bewley

Justin Longmuir watches on as Blake Acres makes his return to training from a hamstring injury

Group one is more of a senior midfield group, they’ve all come back in very good shape.

On Monday, they eased into it, which was what we wanted. On Wednesday we picked it up a bit more. They boys have really started to hit their skills, which was great.

All of our mids are healthy so it’s good to have that selection headache. We’ve got a really good young group, that also has some experience, and they’re all really putting pressure on each other.

Right now, the training feels like you’re in a pre-season block but the reality is we’re only three weeks away from playing games. We’ll pick it up really quickly and we understand that all of the other teams are in the same boat.

 

Group 2: Michael Prior with Rory Lobb, Travis Colyer, Griffin Logue, Tobe Watson, Nathan Wilson and Brennan Cox
Group two has delivered what we’ve asked in the first two sessions. They’re going as well as we could hope and it’s good to see Nathan Wilson fit and training.

They were a little bit rusty with their skills on day one but that’s to be expected. There was an improvement on Wednesday and that improvement will continue.

We’ve got four defenders as well as Lobb and Colyer in our group. As well as training, we’re doing education and walk throughs, so it’s good to have a mix of positions involved.

Tobe had a fantastic pre-season before the shut down. He played more as a tall defender at Peel but we’ve settled him into that half-back role which was more what we drafted him for. He’s proven he can really play at the top level so I’ve got no doubt he’ll get his opportunity at some point.

Tobe Watson in action at training on Wednesday

Group 3: David Hale with Reece Conca, Ethan Hughes, Bailey Banfield, Brandon Matera, Jesse Hogan, Taylin Duman and Luke Ryan
We’ve got a mix of a few backs and forwards and they’re all going well.

This week is about getting them going again. Reece is in the leadership group so he’s been really good to drive the other guys through.

They’ve all enjoyed being able to come in for a few hours every day and work hard. They’re all really looking forward to next week when they can get around the whole group.

They’ve all come back in good shape and it’s also good to have Jesse back training, it seems the time off was really good for him. He’s got a good aerobic base to build from and he’s in good condition.

Reece Conca warms up in the gym

Group 4: Marc Webb with Mitch Crowden, Stefan Giro, Jason Carter, Michael Frederick, Luke Valente, Tom North and Jarvis Pina
They’re a good mix of guys who have been at the club for probably two or three years and a couple of guys who are in their first year.

There’s also a good SA contingent with Crowden, Giro, Frederick and Valente. Mitch and Tom, who have been around for a while now are helping step up the standards.

Valente has been getting through the full sessions and has being moving well.

It’s been fantastic to see Stef coming back form an ACL injury. We did a bit of agility on Wednesday and I know the strength and conditioning staff were really pleased with his ability to change direction. He certainly hasn’t taken a backwards step on his running capacity.

Jarvis is coming into his first year, he’s really bought in as well.

It’s a group who has really worked hard, trained well, done everything together and it’s been a real positive start.

Stefan Giro made his return to training this week after an ACL injury in June, 2019

Simon Eastaugh: Group 5 with Sam Switkowski, Joel Hamling and Alex Pearce
This is the injury rehabilitation group and Sam is close to re-joining the main group after his back episodes before the start of the season.

Sam’s shown some really good form with his running and his ball use, so we’re hoping to see him back in with the main group very soon.

Joel’s back to doing some running on the treadmill. It’s just going to take time. I think this period is giving Joel and Alex a bit more chance to advance their recoveries as they can use our facility and have face-to-face contact with our strength and conditioning staff.

Sam Switkowski is set to re-join the main group

Group 6: Adam Read with Stephen Hill, Liam Henry, Dillon O’Reilly, Hugh Dixon, Isaiah Butters and Leno Thomas
They’ve started a little bit rusty but that’s to be expected with eight weeks away from the club and facility.

Just out of their personal circumstances, guys like Henry, Butters and Thomas didn’t have the ability to use gym equipment or find a nice oval when they went home up north. I think Liam was running on dirt at one stage.

They’ve come back and they’re doing the work.

It’s good to see Hilly and Liam running around together. Liam looked sharp on Wednesday, he has good skills and good voice.

Dillon is impressing following his first pre-season after coming in the mid-season draft last year, he’s in really good shape and I’ve been pleased with his sessions so far.

It’s been great to have Hilly in our education sessions. No-one else in that group has played a game yet so we can throw to Stephen and have him talk through his experience of more than 200 games of footy.

Dillon O'Reilly in action during a handball drill on Tuesday