Anthony Morabito is close to resuming full training
Snapshot: It's been an impressive start to pre-season training for a Fremantle group that is pushing to break into the top four in 2013. Coach Ross Lyon told his players the off-season should be treated as active rest, with "big brother" watching, and the group responded by returning to Fremantle Oval in excellent condition. Time trial and skin fold results have been ahead of schedule and there have been close to 40 players in full training. Sports science manager Jason Weber has been typically uncompromising, punishing any short cuts or poor performances in the running drills, which have usually taken place at the end of football sessions and have been demanding. Veterans Aaron Sandilands and Luke McPharlin have taken place in two out of every three football sessions so far in an effort to keep them physically and mentally fresh. In a football department expansion, Paul Montgomery has crossed from St Kilda to take up a role as strength and conditioning coach.
Break: Left on December 23 and return to training on January 4.
Draftee watch: Key position prospect Tanner Smith has slotted straight into the endurance running drills, positioning himself among the leading pack. Living with Chris Mayne while host family arrangements are made, he has joined full training alongside NAB AFL Draft selections Max Duffy and Josh Simpson. Free agent Danyle Pearce seemed to struggle in the heat during his early sessions but has settled in, while rookies Alex Howson and Matt Taberner made a seamless transition after a week training with the club before the Rookie Draft.
Burning: Hayden Crozier has been pushing himself to the limit this pre-season as he looks to make up for lost time. The second-year midfielder played three games in his debut season but was unavailable after round 13 because of glandular fever. As he rebuilds his engine, it has been common to see Crozier hunched over, physically spent, before doing it all again. Fremantle will be hoping the work pays off and the well-balanced left-footer can add to the team's midfield depth in 2013.
Medical room: Anthony Morabito, who is returning from a second knee reconstruction, has been running well and will aim to join in football sessions in January. Matthew Pavlich underwent back surgery in late November that will also keep him out of full training until January. Michael Barlow (thumb) and Tendai Mzungu (wrist) have been on restricted ball-work but have completed all running sessions. Midfielder Stephen Hill, who underwent shoulder surgery in the off-season, was absent from a number of sessions early in the summer.
What they say: "I'm really quite driven about the basics and we'll do them over and over again so they can stand up to pressure. There's certainly things we'll tweak and you’ve got to move with the game, but I learnt previously off good seasons that if you relax it disappears quickly. The accountability levels will be high, particularly post-Christmas, on getting the basics done." – coach Ross Lyon
NAB Cup schedule:
Round one: v West Coast and Geelong, Patersons Stadium, Saturday, February 16
Round two: v Carlton, Etihad Stadium, Saturday, March 2
Round three: v Western Bulldogs, Northam, Saturday, March 9