Re­cruits to play key role

Cockburn Gazette - - DRIVEWAY - Jes­sica Nico

IT was an ex­tremely busy off sea­son for the re­cruit­ment team at the East Fre­man­tle Foot­ball Club.

It needed to be af­ter 10 play­ers de­parted the club, in­clud­ing the likes of Jesse Crich­ton, An­drew Stephen and Matthew Wat­son.

Hav­ing nar­rowly missed out on mak­ing the fi­nals in 2016, fin­ish­ing in sixth place, the 2017 sea­son was a dis­ap­point­ing one for the Sharks, who fin­ished eighth af­ter notch­ing only three wins.

How­ever, the re­cruiters weaved some im­pres­sive magic dur­ing the off sea­son, se­cur­ing not one, not two but six for­mer AFL play­ers to the list.

Big­gest on that list is for­mer Fre­man­tle Docker Jonathon Grif­fin, who re­turns to the club as cap­tain af­ter 12 years in the AFL sys­tem. Their re­cruits have been pulled from all cor­ners of the coun­try, in­clud­ing Blaine Boekhorst (Carl­ton), Jar­rad Jansen (Bris­bane), Jor­dan Snad­den (West Coast), Nick Kom­mer (Essendon) and Cameron Coast).

With a raft of new and ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers set to wear the blue and white this year, East Fre­man­tle coach Rob Wi­ley said op­ti­mism was high that a resurgence was on the cards.

“2017 was very dis­ap­point­ing in terms of win-loss ra­tio, but it was en­cour­ag­ing to be able to give a lot of younger play­ers valu­able league ex­pe­ri­ence, with 20 play­ers de­but­ing for the club,” he said.

“2018 should see vast im­prove­ment with the ag­gres­sive Lo­er­sch (Gold re­cruit­ing cam­paign and the con­tin­ued de­vel­op­ment of our younger play­ers.

“The play­ing group has worked ex­tremely hard on fit­ness and skills, as well as get­ting a good un­der­stand­ing of what is ex­pected of them game day.

“The group is very pos­i­tive, with the ad­di­tions giv­ing the club a lot more depth and there is a lot of be­lief that 2018 will be a fruit­ful one.”

East Fre­man­tle kicks off sea­son 2018 at Bendigo Bank Sta­dium on March 30 against Peel Thun­der.

Pic­ture: Phil El­liott / Pix­ell Pho­tog­ra­phy

East Fre­man­tle has signed six for­mer AFL play­ers for 2018.

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