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Tuesday, April 5, 2022 - 4:00 PM

Pre-Season Update with Football Manager, Brad Dodd

Q: It was an interesting off-season for you, can you talk us through the recruiting process and planning that went into it?

BD: Our list management process is always on-going. Once the dust had settled on the 2021 season and we’d established who would be moved on and who was coming up from the Colts, we identified some areas we felt we needed to bolster. Initially we were targeting some outside runners and we added Matt Williamson and Jackson McDonald from Victoria. We also managed to add Sam Medland, who is a clever small forward, from Victoria as well. Outside of those 3, we signed Tom Joyce, who returned home after spending 3 years with the Brisbane Lions. 

Q: It’s well documented that you lost 3 players, Dixon, Strnadica and Joyce, to West Coast, at what point was that likely and how did you attack that challenge of replacing them?

BD: Luke Strnadica was the first to get a train on invite at West Coast with the potential to be added to their main list. Luke had a breakout year in the ruck in 2021 and it had been indicated to us that West Coast were looking to add a ruckman. We started to look around at some potential options to help bolster our depth in that space and Jeremy Goddard was one of the first players we spoke to. He wasn’t that keen to commit until Luke got picked, so it was a bit of a waiting game there. Hugh Dixon and Tom Joyce both got opportunities to train but weren’t signed until early March and we’d had little indiction as to how that would play out. From a list management position, we felt we had some depth and options in those areas to cover their loss. That still didn’t mean we didn’t look around and we do have some points available should someone become available at a later date. 

Q: How have you seen the new players coming in and who are we likely to see challenge for a League spot in 2022?

BD: From my perspective, form permitting,  Medland, McDonald and Williamson should all play some League football in 2022. They joined the group late due to the closing of the borders but have fitted in really well and are continuing to improve each week. Whether they get opportunities early is up for debate, but they all played League on the weekend and didn’t look out of place. Jeremy Goddard has also joined us late and is working hard to get himself fit and build a connection with our midfield group. He managed to slot the winning goal after the siren on the weekend, which was a boost for him. 

From the younger guys last year and the Colts group, Chris Walker has continued to improve over the off-season and has put his hand up to play League football early in the season. Ethan Paholski and Enrique Aiken-Featherstone have worked super hard on their fitness and will be looking to put pressure on the League players through continued good form. Jed Hagan, Jack Cleaver and Sam Otto are Colts aged and have all done the pre-season with the Seniors. Jack played in our first trial game against East Perth and Jack and Jed were scheduled to play against West Coast before that game got pulled. 

Q: How have you seen the trial form and preparation for Round 1 overall?

BD: We managed to play a trial against East Perth in Reserves and League, in which we played some good football in patches. It’s always exciting to see the players in action against opposition after a long pre-season and we managed to get through injury free. The game against West Coast was cancelled as COVID had become an issue and in the end our group trained on the Saturday instead. We rounded off our preparation against West Perth, but only in the League, as again COVID reared its ugly head. There was some good learnings from the game that the players and coaching staff will work on over the next few weeks. 

Q: You mentioned COVID, how has that impacted the club and how big a factor will it be in 2022?

BD: It’s certainly been a huge challenge for all clubs and adds another variable to the season. We have had a few players and staff test positive but we haven’t had a big outbreak that has disrupted the weekend like some clubs. There is a lot of protocols that have been added to protect the players and staff and everyone has taken those in their stride. We have worked closely with our medical and strength and conditioning teams to develop our own return to play protocols in order to best protect our players. Data around this is always changing but we feel we’ve got it right. 

Q: Finally, what do you hope season 2022 brings for the Sharks?

BD: It was a positive end to the 2021 season and the playing group have continued to strive to improve individually over the pre-season. We now have a core group of young players that are nearing that 50 game mark and it’s important those players take the next step. I’m excited to see players like Kyle Baskerville, Tom Bennett, Michael Tassone, Jamie Meade, Alex Montauban and Brynn Teakle take the competition by the scruff of the neck as well as continual improvement from the younger players like Max Murphy, Finn Gorringe, Luke English, Cody Smith, Durak Tucker and Milan Murdock. From the older guys, it’ll be nice to see full seasons out of Josh Schoenfeld, Cody Leggett, Blaine Boekhorst and Cam Eardley. All have had some interruptions over the  last few years. It’s a pretty exciting group, who are determined to get better and that should make for a positive season. 

We hope to see the Shark faithful get behind us  by supporting the group Round 1 against Peel Thunder in Mandurah, Good Friday April 15th.  


Brad Dodd
Football Operations Manager

East Fremantle Football Club 'Sharks’