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Walters keen to help Simpson shape up
Michael Walters at Dockers pre-season training at Fremantle Oval yesterday. Pic: Lincoln Baker/WA News

Fremantle forward Michael Walters has promised to act as a mentor for Josh Simpson as the young Dockers squad member battles to get up to speed with the squad's fitness levels in a tough pre-season.

Walters, who learned a hard lesson himself when banished to Swan Districts early in 2012 for not meeting squad skin folds expectations, said he wanted to make sure Simpson had the support that he didn't have.

Simpson has already improved significantly in the first couple of weeks training at Fremantle after struggling in his first set of running trials.

But he was still tailed off the back of his group in the last of two 1km runs the Dockers did yesterday at the end of a tough morning session at Fremantle Oval.

Walters and several other Fremantle players yelled support to the 19-year-old as he battled to the line.

"I remember watching the news the first week and they said he came back unfit. I am just trying to help him," Walters said.

"I didn't really have anyone to help me. I don't want to have the same thing that happened to me happen to him as well. I am trying to help him out as much as I can.

"There is no doubt that he has got all of the talent in the world.

"It is just a hard work component now. I had to find it and now he is starting to find it."

Walters said he was "over" people talking about his off- season lapse which saw him sent to Swans to see if he could build up to an AFL standard and taught him what he called a "massive lesson".

He and the rest of the Dockers squad had returned to training "in good nick", he said.

"The boys really wanted to come back fit and firing," Walters said. "We had a strict target to come back at and most of the boys reached it which is good."

He predicted players would need to be in good shape to command a spot in Fremantle's 2014 team and particularly a forward line boosted by the recruitment of Colin Sylvia and Scott Gumbleton. Walters said competition for spots in attack would be hot.

"I think they will have a massive change in our forward line, especially helping Pav out," he said. "With Gumbles forward it is not just Pav and Mayney … Mayney can play high and can play down low as well."