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‘Solid unit’ to hit the ground running hard in debut game

MATURE draftee Brett Bewley can make an immediate impact for Fremantle with his powerful kicking and elite running ability when he debuts against Brisbane this Sunday, wingman Bradley Hill says.

Williamstown product Bewley was forced to wait longer than many expected after being drafted via pick 59 and creating an instant impression over pre-season.

The 24-year-old played both JLT Community Series matches, picking up 13 disposals against Collingwood in just 39 per cent game time, and another eight against West Coast on similarly limited minutes six days later.

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Despite some solid WAFL form, Bewley has had to bide his time, but the 185cm and 87kg onballer has been called up in a week when the Dockers are desperate to improve their ball movement.

“Obviously a big runner, a nice kick on him. He’s a left-footer and can kick the footy (well),” Hill told AFL.com.au.

“He’s a bigger body … so he’s a solid unit but can cover the ground well.

“Definitely he can play at the level. He’s tough as well.”

For the third-straight year, the Dockers’ season risks veering towards irrelevancy following a promising start if they can’t defend Optus Stadium against the Lions.

In 2017, they were 6-3 before the wheels came off in a five-game losing streak.

Last season, Freo slumped from 3-2 to 4-7.

The Dockers (4-5) were sitting second on the ladder three weeks ago but have crashed to ninth, with an inability to hit the scoreboard in road losses to Adelaide and Essendon proving costly.

“We definitely need the win. Four losses in a row isn’t going to be great,” Hill said.

“We’ve had lots of opportunities (inside 50) and that’s probably the frustrating thing, how many opportunities we have had and we haven’t been converting.”

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The Dockers, ranked seventh for inside 50s but 13th for retention, want the ball in the hands of Hill and Michael Walters, who lead the side for finding forward targets (retain 58 per cent of entries).

They are also desperate for Hill’s older brother Stephen to return, and the classy utility was finally back joining in football training this week after repeat quad complaints.

“He’s probably one of our best ball users in the team, and decision-makers,” Hill said.

“I think he’s in a good spot now. He can see that he’s about to play soon. He’s excited, but there was a lot of frustration (with his setbacks).”

Coming off a campaign interrupted by a long-term knee issue, Hill has enjoyed a strong season on the wing – averaging 22.3 disposals and 4.3 inside 50s – and is priming himself for Sir Doug Nicholls Round.

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“You always want to play well every week, but for me personally this round I definitely want to play some good footy and represent my mob,” Hill said.

“I feel good. I’ve had a couple of up-and-down games but in general I feel like I’ve been working hard.

“With our ball movement, if we get that a little bit better it will probably help myself and Ed (Langdon) a little bit as well on the outside and getting into a little bit more space as well.

“But I feel like I’ve been alright and I feel probably the best I’ve ever felt.”

Fremantle will wear guernseys designed by life member and Doig medallist Troy Cook this Sunday, and Hill will pull on boots painted by development coach Roger Hayden.

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Lockdown backman Ryan Nyhuis has also added some artistic flair to some Dockers teammates’ footwear.

“Every year it’s just getting bigger and I feel as though other players, non-indigenous players, are getting into it a lot more,” Hill said.

“You see some players getting their boots painted who aren’t indigenous, and us boys who are indigenous we respect that and love it when they all get involved with it and get into the culture.”

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Source: AFL FOOTBALL NEWS