Lee Spurr has put his hand up for a permanent role in Fremantle's back six this season as competition for spots rages just weeks out from round one.
The off-season departures of Adam McPhee, Antoni Grover, Greg Broughton, Dylan Roberton and Nick Lower might have created opportunities in a stingy Dockers defence, but Spurr said there were still plenty of players fighting for a place.
"There is really strong competition for spots down back and through the whole team actually," Spurr said.
He said NAB Cup games, as well as this weekend's scratch match against Adelaide, provided opportunities to stake his claim.
"That's definitely what we are all trying to do is look forward to cementing a spot and playing our role week in, week out and being consistent," Spurr said.
The mature-aged rookie was impressive in 13 games for the Dockers last season, making a late run for a defensive posting after coming in to replace an injured Grover at the last minute in round 16.
The 25-year-old was able to hold his spot, playing in both finals before being upgraded from the rookie list at the end of the year.
The Queenslander said he had received positive feedback from the coaches after his first year at the club.
"They just said you need to keep improving and being physical and working hard," he said.
"The work ethic is the main thing at our club, you need to keep putting your hand up to get yourself ready."
Spurr said the players were feeling confident ahead of the 2013 season.
"There is a lot of belief amongst the group that we can perform on the big stage," he said.
"Training has been going well and we are all preparing and getting ready for round one."
Fellow defender Garrick Ibbotson said the group had plenty to work on out of the NAB Cup games.
"Especially the West Coast game. They really locked us down in our defensive half and that's something that we wanted to focus on," he said.
"Ross (Lyon) did say that was probably one thing that they were able to do to us and we just need to work on different ways to be able to get out of a situation like that - hit some better targets, choosing the simple options and not going for too much."
Ibbotson and Spurr visited schools in the State's Mid West as part of the club's annual Australia Post AFL Community Camp yesterday.
The players were mobbed by school children as they conducted a football clinic at Jurien Bay Oval.
"It is great out here at Jurien Bay, the kids are great," Spurr said. "We love being out here."
Forward Chris Mayne did not attend the camp as planned due to the ankle injury he suffered against Geelong on Saturday night but is still on track to play in the round-one western derby.
He had scans yesterday and will be out of action for a couple of weeks.
"The work ethic is the main thing you need to keep putting your hand up to get yourself ready.""
- Lee Spurr *