Fremantle Dockers forward Sam Switkowski breaks new ground with western derby midfield cameo | Ralph Lauren

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Fremantle forward Sam Switkowski says his midfield cameo in the Dockers’ breakthrough western derby victory on Sunday had been weeks in the making and he wouldn’t rule doing it again.

Switkowski stunned many when he made his way to the middle for the first centre bounce alongside ruckman Sean Darcy, veteran midfielder David Mundy and eventual Glendinning-Allan medallist Caleb Serong in Sunday’s big clash at Optus Stadium.

And while his statistics of 13 disposals and two clearances is a modest return, his ability to break the lines and provide speed through the middle of the ground was a big part of the Dockers’ 15-point victory.

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Switkowski, who played his first game since round 18 in the derby after recovering from a hamstring injury, was given the chance with Fremantle

“It was a nice little change-up for me, it’s the first time I’ve been in there (the midfield) since I came to the club,” Switkowski told Sportsday.

“It was good to be amongst it and it certainly gets yourself into the game right from the start.

-Fremantle's Sam Switkowski is tackled by West Coast defender Tom Barrass.
Camera Icon-Fremantle’s Sam Switkowski is tackled by West Coast defender Tom Barrass. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

“Behind closed doors, we’ve been speaking about it for a while, but with some of the outs, some of the big names of Fyfey, Sonny and Andy obviously left a few holes in the midfield.

“In the end, I didn’t spend a hell of a lot (of time) it was more just centre-square bounces to try something different, use my speed and pressure a little bit and it seemed to work not too bad. It might be something in the works for the future.”

Since being drafted in 2017, Switkowski has managed just 31 games because of injury, with a back fracture costing him all of 2020.

The 24-year-old, who earlier this year signed on until at least the end of the 2023 season, said he got a lot of confidence in his body after the run in the midfield.

“Since I got into the competition injuries have been a challenge for me, reoccurring hamstring injuries, but in saying that I’ve come a really long way with my body since the day I stepped into the club,” he said.

“A couple of times I’ve just been hit with the unlucky stick.

“I’ve certainly been building my body really strongly over the last few years… the more I can become more durable and stay out there for longer the better.

“Even just going out there and being able to play in the midfield this week was a good step forward again, something in the first year I wasn’t capable of.”

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