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Mature-age Docker Collins 'ready to go', says Ibbotson

Alex Malcolm  January 20, 2016 8:30 PM

AFL 2015 First Preliminary Final - Fremantle v Hawthorn

Garrick Ibbotson is backing Sam Collins to make an immediate impact

His body is ready to go for AFL footy

MATURE-AGE Fremantle recruit Sam Collins is ready-made for AFL football, according to Dockers defender Garrick Ibbotson.

The Dockers selected 21-year-old Collins with pick No.55 in last year's NAB AFL draft.

The 194cm, 92kg key defender was a vital member of Hawthorn's VFL side Box Hill over the past three seasons. He was in Box Hill's leadership group and has played in two VFL Grand Finals.

Ibbotson said Collins already had all the physical attributes to step straight into AFL football this year.

"His body is ready to go for AFL footy," Ibbotson said. 

"He can mix it with the bigger guys. I think he does a lot of training on Jack Hannath and Matt Taberner and a bit on Pav (Matthew Pavlich) too.

"So he'll learn from playing on experienced AFL footballers but with his body I think he's ready to go."

The Dockers lost veteran defender Luke McPharlin to retirement at the end of last year, but Ibbotson said the make-up and structure of the defence might not change too much.

Fremantle played two of the past three finals series without McPharlin and also had Zac Dawson, Michael Johnson and Alex Silvagni missing for large portions of last season and still managed to finish on top of the ladder at the end of the home and away season.

"Luke moving out of the side is going to be a little bit different because he's been there for a such a long time and has been a great player," Ibbotson said.

"But last year for bits and pieces we didn't have Luke there and we didn't have Johnno and then Zac wasn't there.

"We've adjusted. We've got young guys. Alex Pearce has been playing some good solid footy back and forward, Sam Collins (is there) as well.

"We've got guys who can come into the side. I don't think it will change our structure too much."

Ibbotson, who was picked in the 40-man All Australian squad after excelling as a floating intercept and rebound defender, said he expected his role to be pretty similar in 2016.

He was swung forward in a couple of games late last season out of sheer necessity but he does not expect to do it again this year.

"I haven't played a whole lot there to be honest in my whole life," Ibbotson said. 

"But I've done a little bit of training in the pre-season, sort of going in there for bits and pieces where I can, just in case. But I don't know how much time I'll be play forward if any this year."