Bulldogs to be fitter, faster, stronger: Hasleby

Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 11:52 AM

SOUTH Fremantle coach Paul Hasleby is confident that his Bulldogs outfit will be fitter, faster and stronger in 2013 largely thanks to the arrival of a new strength and conditioning coach.

Hasleby took over as coach of the Bulldogs fresh off retiring as a player heading into the 2012 season with the team already having commenced their pre-season work, meaning that for all intents and purposes this year is giving him the chance to have full control of the group for the first time.

The biggest decision before any recruiting or game plan thoughts were put into place was to get all players on the South Fremantle list fitter, faster and stronger for the 2013 season.

That has seen strength and conditioning coach Mike Vegar arrive from East Perth to run the fitness program and the players are enjoying a new gym set up invested in inside the South Fremantle change rooms at Fremantle Oval.

The results are already obvious after the pre-season campaign and Hasleby is delighted with how the players are looking physically after working closely in the weight room and out on the track with Vegar.

"The program is very new to our guys. We have had South Fremantle players who have hardly ever done weights before, but they are in the gym and we have had a big emphasis on high-speed running within our conditioning," Hasleby said.

"From where we finished off last year, we think they are going to be further advanced and that should equal a pretty good season."

As well as the addition of Vegar to his staff for 2013, Hasleby has also welcomed Michelle Cowan and former Richmond and Western Bulldogs AFL player Patrick Bowden to his coaching group as well.

"I came into the coaching role last year after the pre-season had started so there was a bit to plan from the get go and we didn’t have the chance to appoint someone like Mike Vegar like we have this year," he said.

"I feel terrific about our season ahead. We have good depth, we've got a good coaching group around us with Patrick Bowden and Michelle Cowan coming on board, so they both add a different expertise to our group.

"Combine that with the confidence that comes with having done it for a year now, we are ready to go as a coaching group and ready for the challenges that will be thrown at us."

Bowden originally moved west to work with the Clontarf Football Academy, but expressed an interest to be involved in coaching at WAFL level as well. When Hasleby heard that, he was quick to snap him up and add his experience and knowledge to South Fremantle.

"Patrick moved over here for the Clontarf Football Academy to work at one of the schools. I had played with Patrick's brother in my first year at East Fremantle and he gave me a call and said he wanted to get involved at the elite coaching level here in Perth," Hasleby said.

"I was very happy to get him on board because he was a very good AFL player, comes from a great family and he's obviously got a passion for improving and helping kids in the role that he has at Clontarf. The way he has fitted in has been enormous for us and he's going to be a great acquisition."

By Chris Pike