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Fremantle club champion Ryan Crowley says he is disappointed Nick Lower has left the club but has wished him well.

Lower, who was delisted by Fremantle at the end of the season, had been promised to be redrafted but has decided instead to try his luck at the Western Bulldogs, who he began training with today.

Crowley, who returned for his first day of pre season this morning, said he it was likely the Dockers’ growing midfield depth was one of the factors in Lower’s departure.

“Nick and me are really good mates so I am really disappointed to see him go but that’s footy and I know as well as anyone the way things can go up and down,” he said.

“He is a great competitor and a hard worker so hopefully he impresses down at the Bulldogs and gets a chance.”

Fremantle’s senior players and the club’s three new draftees joined in pre-season training for the first time this morning but Matthew Pavlich, Aaron Sandilands and Luke McPharlin were notable absentees.

Sandilands has just had a baby girl, while Pavlich had a procedure on his back last week which will delay his pre-season.

Crowley finished a gruelling running drill early because of a bit of tightness in his back.

“It was just a bit of day one tightness, it was nothing to worry about,” he said.

“It looked like a pretty tough little session at the end there and I am sort of glad I came off.

“The boys were saying it was pretty tough but all pre-seasons are hard and they seem to get harder and harder every year.”

Crowley says he is the same sort of condition to this time last year.

But the tagger says it is a lot different feeling mentally to last pre-season.

“I have got a two-year contract now rather than that pressure of that one year deal and with the new coach I wasn’t sure where I stood,” he said.

“I am obviously a bit more confident but all of those things don’t really matter, nothing guarantees you a game round one so I am out to prove myself again.”

David Mundy and Crowley trained with the main group, while the likes of Michael Barlow, Stephen Hill and Nat Fyfe did much of their work inside on the gym equipment.