AFLW high performance manager Kate Starre expects Freo to be ready for the start of the NAB AFL Women’s Season despite round one being brought forward a week earlier.
Fremantle will open the year against GWS at Fremantle Oval on Sunday 31 January and Starre is hopeful of fielding a team at peak fitness.
"They’re doing really well as the majority of the group came back in very impressive condition,” Starre said.
“The group has worked really hard and we’re hitting numbers better than we were last year. In that respect, we’re really happy with the overall condition of the group.
“With the season being brought forward, we adjusted our preparation and timing to make sure we were ready to go a week earlier and we’re super happy with where we’re at.”
Starre expects Fremantle to be bolstered by a group of players returning from injury, including star winger Stephanie Cain and defender Alex Williams.
2019 draftees Aine Tighe and Ann McMahon are also nearing a full recovery from their ACL injuries and are expected to have an impact in 2021.
“The ACL group (Cain, Williams, Tighe and McMahon) have been outstanding in their rehab over the break, it’s just amazing,” Starre said.
“Aine was training remotely in Ireland over the winter and she did everything to a tee while she was away. She’s returned pretty much ready to go.
“We don’t want to talk about round one returns as we don’t want to put that pressure on anyone, but could they play a substantial amount of this season? Absolutely.”
Starre added that a wrist injury had set Williams back in her recovery.
“Alex had a wrist operation after injuring it while spoiling at training and she’ll be in a splint for at least the next month,” Starre said.
“We’ll then start working on her wrist rehab. During that time she’s been running and we’re modifying her drills to get her as much football as we can.
“She’s still up for part of the season but it will likely be the back end.”
Unfortunately, Fremantle have been dealt blows with the recent knee injury of Leah Mascall and Mikayla Morrison being hit with a bout of appendicitis.
“Mikayla's appendix ruptured and had to stay in the hospital for around a week because it was so severe.
“We’ll have to manage Mikayla’s illness first, and that’s our priority. Our team doctor, Dr. Tane Eunson, is all over that, just making sure she gets better and when she’s better we’ll start on the high performance work, but right now that’s not even a consideration.
“Leah’s injury is also super disappointing. She was an amazing contributor for us last year after recovering from injury.
“We’re just sad that she’s not going to be up and about this year and we’ll wrap our arms around Leah for her rehabilitation.”