Fremantle chief executive Steve Rosich denies the club’s list is “cooked”, and says things are looking up in their bid to retain emerging star Lachie Neale.
The Dockers sit dead last on the AFL table after losing their opening nine rounds, with their number one focus already shifting from winning games to developing younger players.
Although injuries to key players have hurt Fremantle this season, the dramatic nature of the team’s fall from grace has been worrying.
The Dockers are in danger of becoming the first team in AFL history to go from minor premiers one year to wooden spooners the next.
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon is locked in until 2020, and the club is sticking by the 49-year-old despite the team’s horror form.
Rosich is confident the team will be able to bounce back strongly from the train wreck of a year, saying getting game time into younger players will hold the club in good stead in future seasons.
“I’m not seeing people who are cooked,” Rosich told Perth radio station 6PR.
“I’m seeing people who are working really hard and focused on improving in a cohesive group.
“People are approaching their work and their footy with enthusiasm.
“Are we rebuilding? Well yes we are, we’re resetting it for the future, to make sure we can be back where we want to be – and that’s as one of the best performing teams in the competition.
“We’ve got used to winning, so we want that experience again.”
Neale is out of contract at season’s end, and is already attracting strong interest from rival clubs.
The 23-year-old has been in hot form this season, averaging 33 possessions to become a rare shining light for the side.
Rosich was reluctant to give much away about current negotiations, but says he is feeling “positive” about where things sit.
However, the futures of Chris Mayne, Michael Barlow, Matt de Boer, Zac Clarke, and Tendai Mzungu remain up in the air.
The Dockers will be aiming to notch their first win of the season when they take on St Kilda at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Midfielders Stephen Hill (adductor) and David Mundy (calf) face fitness tests this week, while defender Alex Pearce (broken leg) joins Nat Fyfe (leg), Aaron Sandilands (ribs), Harley Bennell (calf) and Michael Johnson (hamstring/knee) in the long-term casualty ward.