Although we’ve become accustomed to David Mundy’s age-defying feats on the field in 2021, the question remains around how the 35-year-old continues to play at the peak of his abilities.
According to the AFL’s senior coaches, Mundy has been Fremantle’s best player this season and is a top-10 player in the league, sitting ninth in the AFLCA Coach’s votes standings.
The midfielder’s coming off a 30 disposal and two goal game against Hawthorn, a feat he had only achieved once heading into 2021, but something he’s now done twice this season.
While many have put Mundy’s feats down to him being a freak of nature, Mundy spoke to ABC Grandstand about the little and big things he does to continue playing at his best.
He joked that it was all down to his ‘grasscat’ boots - known in the football world for being a no-frills boot that is worn by the game’s older players to extend their careers.
“The career-savers certainly help. I've been in them for almost 340 games now,” Mundy told ABC Grandstand.
He added that new senior coach Justin Longmuir’s game plan has worked to his advantage.
“I’ve been in the game for a long time, so I have a thorough understanding of how I fit in the Fremantle system, and then how I can best utilise my strength within that,” Mundy said.
“I feel like I'm fitting into Justin's game plan really well. On top of that, we have a really good midfield group that is working really well together.
“We've grown a lot together, and being in hubs together has really helped our connection and our relationship, both on and off field.
“Having a really good relationship on field, where we all understand what the other is doing at different times. It's a nice little unit to be part of.”
Mundy highlighted an often-forgotten aspect of a player’s skillset, with his mental wellbeing crucial in recent seasons.
“A lot of thought and effort goes into the physical side of things and getting your body physically able and capable of playing AFL at an elite level, but then also being able to replicate that and back that up week in week out,” Mundy said.
“Where my focus has really shifted in the last handful of years has been the mental side of the game.
“Obviously, it takes a huge toll. There's more people talking about it, and social media, you have more access to it passively.
“It’s being able to first mentally recover from games and sift through my own thoughts about how I went…things I need to improve on or moments I wasn't really happy with…it’s allowed me to really accept and acknowledge certain key learning points out of games early in the week.
“By doing that, I've been able to move past downs and begin planning for the next game. That's really helped me in my recovery phase.”
Mundy said it was easy to lose sleep after a tough game, which could then affect future performance.
“Really simply, it’s getting more sleep or not stewing about games, two or three nights after games, which really helps physical recovery,” Mundy said.
“(It’s also) being able to have some mental imagery, positive affirmation type stuff, where I can get myself mentally on edge and ready to really compete - give it my all and really nail down any key focuses that we have into that week.
“It’s helped me be clear minded throughout the week and importantly, within games, be present and able to react within games.”
With Fremantle facing a five-day break going into their next game against Geelong, Mundy spoke about how the recovery process began on the flight home immediately after the game.
“It was about five hours (back from Launceston) and we're running at a five-day break. So the messaging coming from our sports science team was to get up every half an hour and try and move around,” Mundy said.