THE Fremantle Dockers are set to relocate to the $109 million Cockburn Aquatic and Recreation Centre (ARC) within weeks, and the facility has already helped shape the squad for the upcoming season.
Fremantle chief executive Steve Rosich said the grand build at Cockburn Central played a big role in encouraging Greater Western Sydney’s Cam McCarthy, Geelong’s Shane Kersten and premiership players Bradley Hill (Hawthorn) and Joel Hamling (Western Bulldogs) to the club during last year’s trade period.
“In terms of attracting players, we saw it first hand,” he said.
“We had a great trade period attracting four young West Australians from other AFL teams and I can tell you they did see this facility before making their decision.
“I have no doubt it did help.”
While sad to be leaving Fremantle Oval, where the Dockers have been based for more than two decades, ruckman Zac Clarke said he was excited to have a new home at a world-class facility.
“It makes everything a bit easier,” he said.
“You’re not quite on top of each other like you are at the moment.
“You can see in the gym that we can be more productive.”
Rosich said the Dockers squad was shown around the ARC just prior to the break following a tough 2016 season.
The club finished in 16th place with four wins, just a year after claiming the minor premiership.
But Rosich said there had been a boost of optimism among Dockers players excited to train at the new base.
“You don’t want to die wondering,” he said.
“You want to give your players and your staff the best chance of success on an off the field.
“We think this facility does that.”