Fremantle recruit Danyle Pearce is already having an influence on a midfield group primed for its best season yet, according to Dockers star Michael Barlow.
Pearce and coach Ross Lyon had a long conversation following training at Fremantle Oval today, where the club ramped up its pre-season with a series of intense match simulation drills.
Recruited to the club through free agency at the end of last year, the 26-year-old is expected to add outside class to a Dockers midfield built mainly on inside players.
His voice and direction stood out during today's session.
Barlow said the former Rising Star winner's class was obvious and the group was anxious to see how he fit into the side during the upcoming NAB Cup.
"Everytime we played Port Adelaide he'd be a target player for us and someone that if we wanted to win, then we'd have to limit his influence, so that speaks volumes of his ability," Barlow said.
"He's someone that really fits our model and somewhere we've identified we need to improve, the outside speed and penetration with good foot skills, and Danyle brings that.
"The way he's been invited into the group and the way he's expressed himself on and off the track has been exemplary so we're really happy to have him on board and looking forward to seeing what he has to offer."
Young guns Nat Fyfe and Stephen Hill completed a full session today, while injured skipper Matthew Pavlich made a brief appearance on the track.
A number of the squad's younger players were pulled from the main group during the session to complete extra running requirements.
Barlow said the fitness of the squad was very encouraging and he expected more of those younger players to force their way into the midfield during the season.
"It's a really exciting period for our midfield," he said.
"We're getting a lot of blokes two or three years into their AFL career who have put some consistent form in at WAFL level and then guys who have improved fitness levels from one year to the next who will be able to add some versatility.
"(Some players) that have played more half-back or half-forward roles might be suited to a bit more inside work this year."
The Dockers begin their NAB Cup campaign in a round robin fixture against West Coast and Geelong on February 16.