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Fresh faces set to rotate through Freo's midfield

Michael Walters could spend more time through the midfield in 2016 - ${keywords}
Michael Walters could spend more time through the midfield in 2016

THERE is likely to be some fresh faces running through Fremantle's midfield this season as the Dockers look to expand their options given the new interchange cap, rising star Lachie Neale says.

The Dockers' midfield has been one of the most stable and successful groups in recent seasons.

Neale, David Mundy, Nat Fyfe and ruckman Aaron Sandilands were the regular centre-square quartet last season with others such as Michael Barlow, Nick Suban and Matt de Boer floating through.

But Neale said given the new interchange cap the Dockers will need more options moving through the middle and he nominated Hayden Crozier and Michael Walters as two who had impressed in training so far this summer.

"I think we've seen Hayden and Michael Walters rotate through the midfield and they're getting a grasp on the principles in there," Neale said.

"A couple of times today they got a couple of really good clearances they're two that I'm sure will float in and out as well.

"But overall we've had heaps of numbers through there and everyone is trying to get that grasp on how we play in there."

Second-year midfielders Connor Blakely, Lachie Weller and Ed Langdon are three other names that Neale said would be pushing for regular roles in the Dockers' midfield.

"They're coming along really well," Neale said.

"Obviously as first-years you get pulled out of a lot of stuff. They've been doing most of the work and training really well and they'll be a few guys that will push really hard for selection.

"They're talented kids and they're working hard so it's exciting for the club."

Assistant coach Marc Webb has taken charge of the midfield group along with ruck coach Simon Eastaugh following Brett Kirk's decision to move back to Sydney.

Webb had served an apprenticeship as a development coach at Fremantle and while he doesn't boast the AFL playing experience that Kirk has he was a very successful player at WAFL level captaining Subiaco to three successive premierships between 2006 and 2008.

He won the Simpson medal as best on ground in the 2006 WAFL Grand Final and also won a best and fairest with the Lions in 2003.

While Neale said Kirk had been a key figure in his career to-date he believes Webb has already had an impact on the midfield group.

"Brett had a massive influence on my career," Neale said.

"I spoke to him after he went to Sydney, briefly, and what he has taught me will stay with me and I'll use that throughout this year as well.

"But we've got Marc Webb now and he's just as good with the stoppages and I've already got some feedback from him as well. So I'm really excited for what Webby can offer and looking forward to this year."

Neale also said new skipper David Mundy had transitioned into the role very well.