Nick Suban will be "a weapon" for Fremantle this year after continuing a strong summer with an impressive showing in the NAB Cup at the weekend, according to teammate Matt de Boer.
Suban was used exclusively through the midfield against Geelong and West Coast at Patersons Stadium on Saturday night and won the second most clearances (five) for his side, behind only first-choice midfielder Michael Barlow (six).
The 22-year-old has been a standout in training this pre-season, and de Boer said his teammate was ready to take his game to another level in his fifth year in the AFL.
"I loved him in there, great energy, he's super strong now and he's got a great left boot, so we know he's going to go in there and do the team thing," de Boer said.
"He's been training in the midfield and a little bit up forward as well.
"He's another one of those ones who's a bit of a utility. He's played down back as well, but he's really worked on his midfield stuff and his strength and he could be a real weapon for us going forward."
Suban, who has played 62 games for the Dockers, was dropped after four rounds under coach Ross Lyon last year but eventually fought his way back into the side on the back of strong form at Claremont, including a star performance in the WAFL club's Foxtel Cup victory.
He was used mainly as the substitute in the Dockers' final six games, including two finals.
Suban was not the only new midfielder to impress.
With stars David Mundy and Nat Fyfe both held back from Fremantle's first hit-out, second-year players Cameron Sutcliffe and Tom Sheridan and Port Adelaide recruit Danyle Pearce were given plenty of opportunities to showcase the club's new midfield depth.
Sutcliffe was particularly impressive, having a number of handy touches and being rewarded for strong running.
"He's had a super summer and I'm rapt for him," de Boer said of Sutcliffe.
"He'll just keep improving. He's got another month to work on a few things and then he'll hopefully get a gig round one."
Lyon said although a number of players played strong cameos over the two shortened games, fleet-footed midfielder Stephen Hill had been the most eye-catching in his book.
Hill had 12 disposals, four clear-ances and four inside-50s across the two games and showed a new hunger for the contested ball alongside his trademark speed and agility.
"I thought Stephen Hill was probably our standout when he got the ball," Lyon said.
"He competed really, really well." DID YOU KNOW? 62 The number of games Nick Suban has played for the Dockers