Ross takes Freo on proven Saints path
FREMANTLE hope this week's training camp on the Gold Coast will help embed the team's game plan and fast-track bonding within the revamped AFL squad.
The Dockers arrived in Queensland on Sunday, with players hitting the training track on Monday.
Some fans have raised eyebrows as to why the Dockers would fly across the country for part of their pre-season, given the team travels so much during the season.
But coach Ross Lyon believes the move will greatly benefit his young team. Lyon ran the same camps in 2009 and 2010 when he was coach of St Kilda - the Saints reached the grand final in both of those years.
Fremantle have added 32 new players to their list over the past three seasons, including 10 this year.
Former Demons forward Jesse Hogan, Travis Colyer, Reece Conca, and Rory Lobb are among the latest recruits.
The Dockers have missed the finals for three straight years but their recruitment spree has given them confidence of snaring a top-eight berth in 2019.
"We've got a huge number of new players," football operations manager Peter Bell said from the Gold Coast on Monday.
"(This camp) is more a chance to get away, really embed the game plan, and spend some quality down time together.
"It's pretty similar to the schedule that we'd have back in WA, except there'll be additional game plan sessions and education sessions, just to get everyone on the same page.
"Ross has used this in his coaching history a few times to great effect and we think there's enormous value to get everyone together and get everyone on the same page, and to do a meaningful training week as well."
One notable absentee from the Gold Coast camp was Stephen Hill, who is recovering from surgery on his troublesome left quad.
Hill, who was plagued by the injury several times last season, won't be back on running duties for another six to eight weeks.
The Dockers received a boost on Sunday when ruckman Sean Darcy re-signed for a further two years, tying him to Fremantle until the end of 2022.
"Clearly in his 15 games of AFL footy he's already shown a lot of ability," Bell said.
"We believe we've got a really bright young prospect in Sean and together with Aaron Sandilands they should be a formidable duo."