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Monday, February 25, 2019

Fremantle Dockers Michael Walters, Nat Fyfe and David Mundy to rotate through midfield and forward-line in 2019.

Fremantle stars Michael Walters, Nat Fyfe and David Mundy are set to run a midfield/forward rotation this season as the Dockers use Walters to bolster a young midfield and Mundy and Fyfe to provide support for their rebuilt forward line.
Walters confirmed the hybrid roles after starring in the midfield during Fremantle’s intraclub hit-out at Cockburn on Friday. Coach Ross Lyon also used recruit Jesse Hogan — the intended spearhead of their revamped attack — in a mixed role, sending him into centre-square stoppages several times.
The Dockers’ diminished ability to score has been a major factor in their tumble down the ladder in the past three seasons, when they have finished in the bottom three for scoring.
They were 16th last year when Walters led their goal-kicking with just 22 goals. In Lyon’s successful Fremantle teams Matthew Pavlich, Chris Mayne, Walters and Hayden Ballantyne regularly kicked more than 30 goals in a season. Fyfe kicked 24 in 2014 and 17 in 2015.
Walters said the flexibility of the Dockers’ midfielders was critical. “It is a swingman role and it gives David Mundy and Nat Fyfe the chance to play forward. We have been doing it a bit for three years,” he said.
Walters said targets such as Hogan and Rory Lobb gave predictability to teammates on where the ball was headed.
Lobb kicked 29 goals as a forward at Greater Western Sydney in 2016. Hogan (152 in 71 games) has booted more goals in his first four seasons than Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt (135) or West Coast’s Josh Kennedy (146 in his first six seasons).
“We are bonding well with the team and the new players have brought in something different as well, Reece Conca from Richmond, Rory from GWS,” Walters said.
“Our chemistry is getting better up forward. We have targets to go to and the ball movement is better in terms of predictability, us knowing where the ball should go.”
Walters said flexibility among the senior players would help the youngsters. Adam Cerra, Andrew Brayshaw, Tom North and Mitch Crowden needed to play in the roles that would one day make them senior stars at the club, he said.
“I am 28 and I am the fifth oldest at the club,” Walters said
“We need to fast-track our young players as quick as we can. They need to see what AFL footy is about and to play against players like Scott Pendlebury and Dustin Martin.”
Fremantle are confident Fyfe will play at least one JLT Community Series match after he has minor surgery on his troublesome elbow.
Injury-prone Harley Bennell has been cleared of any fresh calf damage after scans.