Nick Suban will further press his claims for a permanent spot in the Fremantle midfield against Carlton in the second round of the NAB Cup at Etihad Stadium tonight.
A slimmed-down Suban has impressed in the engine room during the pre-season after playing much of his 62-game career at half-back.But the return of stars David Mundy, Nat Fyfe and Ryan Crowley for tonight’s game will be a stern test for Suban.
The Dockers will field almost a full-strength side against the Blues.
Captain Matthew Pavlich has stayed in Perth for the birth of his first child and speedster Stephen Hill is being rested.
Suban has been singled out by teammates for his outstanding pre-season form but the 22-year-old with the lethal left boot isn’t talking himself up.
He says he doesn’t even know how much weight he has lost.
“I think it might be a couple of kilos but I am not 100 per cent sure,” he said.
Suban admits it has been his best pre-season but says the whole side has had its most productive summer since he joined the club.
“It has been a really enjoyable pre-season,” he said. “The boys came back in really good shape.”
Suban played 14 games last season but was dropped to the WAFL for extended periods and named as an emergency four times before playing the last six games, including both finals as the sub.
He said the coaches told him that he needed to improve his fitness.
“I had a bit of bad luck (with injuries) the last couple of years but I have done most pre-seasons since being here,” he said.
“In my off-season I did a fair bit of running and hit day one with a lot of momentum.”
Suban says he is not concerned about what position he plays but if he wants an illustration of how to move from skilful back man to elite midfielder, he need look no further than Mundy.
“It has been good to play in the midfield but there is a lot of competition for spots in there,” he said.
“You could look at him (Mundy) and ask what he did to improve in areas to get in the midfield but for me it is just about getting better, game by game.”
Suban arrived at the Dockers at the end of 2008 after the Blues gave up pick 24 to get young ruckman Robert Warnock to Visy Park.
He showed enormous promise in his first season, playing every game. He was touted as a future leader of the club but says a lot has changed since then.
“I am just trying to attack every training session and get a permanent spot in the side,” he said.
“Ross (Lyon) has been really good for the group and myself and he’s very demanding.”
And the Victorian, who is contracted until the end of 2014, won’t be looking to head back across the Nullarbor any time soon.“I am loving it here and WA’s home.”
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