Up and coming Fremantle tall Brennan Cox is willing to feature at either end of the ground despite his preference to play as a part of Freo’s backline.
While Luke Ryan stole the show down back with a Doig Medal and All Australian honours in 2020, Cox linked up perfectly with his good friend and housemate as one part of a defensive duo.
The pair gave little to opposition forwards, ranking in the top two at Fremantle for spoils and intercept marks. They also rebounded with quality disposals, leading Freo for kicking efficiency.
With the likes of Alex Pearce, Joel Hamling and Hayden Young set to return from injury in 2021, Cox’s ability to play as a forward could be called upon to alleviate the selection pressure down back while adding to Freo’s depth of talls up front.
The 195cm big man originally trained and played as a forward after he was drafted in 2016 but had a career-best season in 2020 as he transitioned into the backline.
He said his preference to play as a defender wouldn’t get in the way of doing what was best for the team.
“I think down back is where I feel the most natural and where I play my best football,” Cox told 6PR.
“If JL (senior coach Justin Longmuir) wants me to go forward, I’ll happily go forward and do what the team needs me to do but I think down back is where I’d like to stay”
Cox’s pre-season at Fremantle officially started on Wednesday as the club’s five-plus year players returned to training.
The 22-year-old is now approaching his fifth year in the AFL and despite having the longer break, he used his time in Adelaide to train alongside James Aish and youngsters Michael Frederick and Luke Valente, who were unable to return to the club in December due to WA’s border restrictions.
“It’s been a whirlwind the past two years and this pre-season has been a bit tough, not being able to get back and train with the younger boys,” Cox said.
“But the boys that were stuck in SA, we got to work and now it’s good to finally be back with everyone else.
“There was about four of us stuck there and we all met up on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and did running and football sessions but it wasn’t the same as getting out there with all the other boys.”
Cox will have to wait at least another week to be reunited with all of his teammates with 15 players currently in quarantine after entering the state via Victoria in late December.
Despite training in smaller groups, he said Fremantle were continuing to work on their ball movement and skills.
“I think the main goal, which has been said (before), is our money kick, it’s hitting that leading forward and our entry into the forward 50,” Cox said.
“Also at times last year our ball movement out of D50 was struggling a little bit.
“That kick inside 50 was probably the one that was really hurting us.
"We’re still doing all of our running and stuff like that, but it’s more (focusing on) ball movement and working out of stoppages.”