Fremantle Dockers have kick-started training in a sharp fashion ahead of their Indigenous round against Collingwood on Sunday.
Players will wear a guernsey co-designed by ex-player Dale Kickett and Dr Richard Walley, a recipient of the Order of Australia.
Sunday’s Sir Doug Nicholls’ Round pays tribute to the Indigenous AFL star who served as a leader on and off the field.
Fremantle defender Nathan Wilson joins ten other players on the team’s indigenous list.
He spoke with Docker TV about the pressures felt by the team.
“It’s just another game, but there is a high expectation for the Aboriginal boys,” he said.
Household names Harley Bennell, Michael Walters and the Hill brothers are among 16 players at Fremantle.
Together they tally the most Indigenous players on an AFL team.
“There’s a strong culture here and we try to stick together but we also want to include everyone together as a team,” Nathan said.
With Collingwood winning three out of their four past games, the atmosphere is set to be magnetic at the MCG with both teams battling it out for round eleven.
Injuries cause big decisions for player selection in preparation for Sunday’s game
Nathan Wilson commended the team’s effort on Wednesday’s training session and said they look forward to a final boot on Friday before flying to Melbourne.
“The boys were sharp, had a few things we had to work on from North Melbourne. Ross and the coaching staff put it on us to improve,” he said.
Player selection is still unclear this week as Aaron Sandilands suffered concussion from the weekend clash with North Melbourne and Stephen Hill is out from a quad injury.
Wilson hopes the players chosen for the weekend game will be able to secure a convincing win as the club has had a slow start to the season.
“Hopefully the person who is chosen steps up and plays a part in the team. Hopefully we come out with a win,” he said.
After putting their best foot forward in the WAFL, Michael Apeness, Scott Jones and Luke Strnadica are strong contenders ahead of team selection.
Apeness is being considered to fill Sandilands’ boots with a total of 64 disposals and 123 hit outs for Peel Thunder in the WAFL.
If Apeness was selected it would mark 645 days between his AFL appearances after having a horrific run with injuries over the last four years.
Nathan Wilson hoped the team’s strong bond and hard work would bring them together for a win this round.
“It’s going to be a hard contest. We’ll need to win the contested ball and spread them and use the ball well to make them defend,” he said.
Fremantle Dockers player selection will be announced at 4.45pm.