When the Fremantle returned to full contact training on Monday, the playing group as a whole beat many of the benchmarks they set during the pre-season, according to high performance manager Jason Weber.
Senior coach Justin Longmuir said on Chanel Seven news on Tuesday night that Fremantle’s strength and conditioning staff had to hold the players back as they eagerly responded to their first full-team training session in more than two months.
This was despite the wet and blustery conditions, that did little dampen the their spirits.
Weber was pleased with how the players navigated a difficult eight-week block of training in pairs during the mandatory shutdown.
“Overall, we’ve progressed really well and that was probably no more evident than on Monday,” Weber said.
“We had a really strong football session in which some of the indicators were higher than we would have done in the pre-season.”
Weber said that the intensity of the session was just under the level of what would be expected on game day.
“(These indicators) represented a high fraction of what we would achieve in a game so that gives us real confidence that we’re on the right path,” Weber said.
“I know Justin was very happy with the football output, particularly given the challenging conditions on the day.
“We’re looking towards continuing our plan. Our plans at this stage are right on target.”
Weber said the players were diligent in the shutdown period working on their strength and fitness. The next test was to get the players accustomed to training in a football environment.
“We know they can run, they’ve run well through the past summer,” Weber said.
“The challenge is making sure training represents a mechanical stress that will make their muscles and their tendons to do some things they haven’t done for a while.
“Things around decision making, again they haven’t done (during the shutdown). We’re challenging them in that space at a level they can recover from, so we can make the next step up.
“Monday’s training was quite quick, it was highly focused on change of direction, jumping and competing.
“We’ll move to that in the next few weeks. We’ll increase our repeatability and how much we can back things up in a short space of time.”
Weber said the nature of the sessions would change quickly as Fremantle compete what is essentially mini pre-season leading into their round two clash against Brisbane on Saturday 13 June.
“There’s more ramping to be done. Friday’s session this week will look and feel different,” Weber said.
“The players are ready and they’re hungry for it.
“They’re already saying they’re looking forward to that, they say they want to move forward and do the more advanced things, it’s just making sure we implement it well.”