Luke Ryan and Luke Jackson return for the Fremantle Dockers before the first round of the AFL

Round one sees Fremantle expecting a selection headache as several stars returned to the practice circuit. ELIZA REILLY unpacks the big talking points as the dockers prepare to meet the Saints in round one.

CODE Sports’ Eliza Reilly was at Fremantle training as they prepared for their first round match against St Kilda.

Here are the main talking points a little over a week before their season opener.

Everything on course

Round one sees Fremantle expecting a selection headache as several stars returned to the practice circuit on Wednesday.

Michael Frederick received a loud cheer from his teammates after recovering from a quadriceps injury and rejoining the main group. The speedy forward wore a red cap to remind his teammates to take things easy, but Frederick otherwise moved freely save for a few kicks on his unpreferred foot.

Michael Walters upped his running as he continues to cope with an Achilles tendon problem. The veteran missed both pre-season ties against Adelaide and Port Adelaide but the club are yet to rule him out of the first round. The 32-year-old put his Achilles tendon to the test during a solid session and was spotted running with intensity, changing direction and shooting at goal.

Luke Ryan (back), Luke Jackson (headknock) and Corey Wagner (hamstring) were also back in full training, meaning the whole team was in action on Wednesday.

Fyfe shrinks back

Nat Fyfe had light duties in practice while Fremantle tried to manage his workload leading up to the first round.

There’s plenty of excitement about what Fyfe can do as a striker this year, having scored nine goals in his last three games. But the two-time Brownlow medalist was limited to a few easy runs and laps on Wednesday.

It’s all part of the bigger picture as the 31-year-old wants to be fit and shoot against St Kilda in round one. Fyfe again spent some time refining his standard shot routine.

Small forwards Travis Colyer and Walters were the only other longshoremen on light duties.

final touch

A pre-season one-apiece ledger hasn’t stopped Fremantle from making improvements in the final stages leading up to the first round.

Some line work towards the end of the training gave some subtle hints as to what refinements the dockers will be making over the next week and a half before tackling St Kilda.

Fremantle defenders focused on pair play and contested coverage. There was also an emphasis on clearing the ball quickly once it hit the ground.

While Fremantle midfielders and forwards have teamed up to work on Inside 50 entries. The Dockers lost the stats 58-45 in their last preseason hitout against Port. Starting with a ball on the wing, Fremantle seemed to be trying to get the ball into a more central position before releasing it within 50.

Eliza Reilly

Eliza Reilly is a Perth-based sportswriter for CODE, specializing in AFL, AFLW and netball. Born and raised in Perth, Eliza began her career as a sports cadet with the Gold Coast Bulletin and later became assistant sports editor. In 2020, she returned home to join The West Australian where she had the chance to cover a major AFL final in her home state. Eliza has also received recognition for her journalism, including winning a Clarion Award and multiple WA Football Media Guild Awards, including the Tracey Lewis Emerging Talent Award in her freshman year with The West. Luke Ryan and Luke Jackson return for the Fremantle Dockers before the first round of the AFL

Ryan Sederquist

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