Garrick Ibbotson concedes he has plenty of work to do if he is to break back into the Fremantle side this season.
Ibbotson has endured a frustrating 2014 so far after having a delayed start on the comeback trail from the Achilles injury which ruined his finish to last season and kept him out of the club's first grand final.
The 26-year-old returned to the Dockers' side for their round-three clash with Hawthorn at the MCG but was promptly substituted out after dislocating a shoulder.
Ibbotson played for Peel on April 18 and was an emergency for Fremantle last weekend before being withdrawn from the WAFL game due to illness.
He said it had been a frustrating period, despite the shoulder injury not being as bad as first thought.
"I think I was lucky at the time that I dislocated it," he said.
"It came out really cleanly and didn't do too much damage.
"I spent a bit of time strengthening it with physios and it feels really good now so hopefully it stays there.
"I had a little bit of an interrupted start to the season but hopefully now everything is going forward and I've still been able to manage a fair bit of training volume and bit of running.
"Games have been a little bit up and down but hopefully it's a bit smoother now."
Ibbotson was one of 10 Fremantle-listed players who lined up for Peel Thunder in their 29-point loss to Perth on Saturday.
He said he tried to take a leadership role at the lower level and was frustrated at their inability to put four quarters together.
"I try and communicate as best I can to try and help the younger guys and try and talk them through situations in the game," Ibbotson said.
"It's everyone across the board trying to play their role and I'm the same as everyone else."
After playing at half-back for the Dockers last year, Ibbotson has been used mainly on a wing for Peel to get run into his legs.
He is realistic about his chances of re-establishing his place at Fremantle.
"I think I have got a bit of work to do," Ibbotson said.
"We have got a strong side in there at the moment and you have got to work for it, no one gets handed a position on the team.
"I have got to make sure I'm playing some good footy first."