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 Loersch (Gold 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 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.
Quick Questions with Rob Wiley
Player to watch in 2018: Alex Howson
Your biggest game/s in 2018: “Round 1 against Peel, derbies and Subiaco”
Prediction for Sandover Medal: Blaine Boekhorst
East Fremantle Fixtures
Rd 1: v Peel Thunder @ Bendigo Bank Stadium. March 30.
Rd 2: v Perth @ East Fremantle Oval. April 7.
Rd 3: v Claremont @ Claremont Oval. April 14.
Rd 4: v South Fremantle @ East Fremantle Oval. April 22.
Rd 5: v Swan Districts @ Steel Blue Oval. April 28.
Rd 6: v East Perth @ East Fremantle Oval. May 6.
Rd 7: v West Perth @ HBF Arena. May 19.
Rd 8: v Peel Thunder @ East Fremantle Oval. May 26.
Rd 9: v South Fremantle @ Fremantle Oval. June 4.
Rd 10: v Subiaco @ Leederville Oval. June 9.
Rd 11: v Perth @ Lathlain Park. June 16.
Rd 12: Bye
Rd 13: v Claremont @ Geraldton. June 30.
Rd 14: v West Perth @ East Fremantle Oval. July 7.
Rd 15: Bye
Rd 16: v Perth @ Lathlain Park. July 21.
Rd 17: v Swan Districts @ East Fremantle Oval. July 28.
Rd 18: Bye
Rd 19: v East Perth @ Leederville Oval. August 11.
Rd 20: v Subiaco @ East Fremantle Oval. August 18.
Rd 21: v South Fremantle @ East Fremantle Oval. August 25.