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Returning White takes on extra leadership

Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 2:04 PM
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DUAL premiership defender Craig White returns to South Fremantle in 2013 after a year in Sydney with hardly any familiar faces left at the Bulldogs, but hopes to help set the example for a young group to get back the success he has been so used to.
White was already a vice-captain of the Bulldogs back in 2011 before he left for Sydney, but during his year away most of his fellow senior South Fremantle teammates moved on and in the meantime he picked up valuable coaching experience.
The 28-year-old coached the Balmain Dockers into a grand final and won his club's fairest and best award in the process, but what he has found on return to South Fremantle for the 2013 season is a playing group full of unfamiliar faces.
However, as a colts and reserves premiership player, and dual league flag winner as well, White has been used to success at South Fremantle and will be happy to help pass on any of his knowledge gained from being part of strong sides. 
His coach for his whole league career John Dimmer has been replaced by his teammate of 2011 Paul Hasleby and just Jarrad Winter, Reece Adams, Toby Bairstow, Ryan Cook, Brendon Gulley, Kris Miller, Andrew McCarrey, Paul Mugambwa and Ashton Hams remain from the team that lost the first semi-final to Subiaco.
Then tracing back to the 2009 premiership side, White, Miller, Mugambwa, Adams and Hams are the only ones left at South Fremantle so the turnover has been massive in recent years.
That means that as a dual premiership, 139-game player, White is one of the real senior players in the Bulldogs' line-up now as he returns for the 2013 season.
"It's definitely been quite different from 14 months ago when I left but it's been good and a bit of a challenge to get to know all of the younger guys. It presents new challenges, though, and hopefully some of those young guys keep stepping up and we can have some success," White said.
"The turnaround from our last premiership and even from 14 months ago when I left has been huge with a lot of those players so used to success after having so much coming through the juniors and then here at the club.
"Hopefully now this group can do the same. The colts have won the last two premierships and hopefully they can help the league side have some success."
Even though White was a vice-captain two years ago, with the likes of Miller, Ryan Murphy, Hasleby, Josh Head, McCarrey, Hayden North and Theo Adams there were plenty of other leaders on top of captain Toby McGrath.
White has certainly noticed that huge gulf now between the senior players and the exciting young group coming through at South Fremantle, and he is looking forward to the added responsibility to set the example.
With captain Ryan Cook and the likes of Adam McIntosh, Nick Borovac and Adam Guglielmana in the leadership group, it's young and White is happy to show them the ropes especially in the back-line.
"I was a leader as such two years ago but there were probably 15 guys in our team that could easily have been a leader, but now there are only four of us who are over the age of 25 or 26 so it does put a bit more emphasis on being a good leader with so many young guys looking up to you," he said.
"It just means that you have to set all the right examples. It's a young defensive group, but a lot of our new leaders this year have come from there with McIntosh and Borovac, and then guys like Dylan Ross and Brendon Gulley if they can put their hand up and keep playing consistent footy hopefully we can gel together and form a good defence."
Given that the likes of McGrath, Head, Murphy and North all retired in 2012, the return of White helps to offset some of the experience lost, and he also feels it was important for veterans like Miller, McCarrey and Mugambwa to play on also. 
"You can't buy experience and the senior guys we still have here at the club have been part of some success," he said.
"We have always had a winning culture around the club and to still have those guys around the club, it helps to pass on that winning culture to the guys coming through and hopefully it means we can start having success with these guys coming through as well."
White has an enormous amount of respect and gratitude towards his South Fremantle coach for all of his 139 matches and his two premierships to date so was a little surprised when Dimmer left at the end of the 2011 season.
However, he has instantly been impressed by the approach that Hasleby is having and has no doubt that the midfielders in the group will benefit from his expertise in particular.
"Obviously I was under John for all of his time here after I started in his first year and they are completely different coaches. John was very good with man management where as Hase is very in-tune with today's game," he said.
"His game plan is quite basic and easy to follow, but he knows what needs to happen for it to work and he's got his system in place. Hopefully throughout the season you can see his game plan in action and we can win plenty of games with it.
"Our midfielders can all relate to him as well. He obviously has only been out of the game a couple of years and still knows what is required to be an elite midfielder.
"He's still in tune with the AFL and obviously the WAFL, and the boys can look up to him and try to play like him in some ways more than someone who has been out of the game for 15 or 20 years. Hase has a more hands on approach with the midfielders and I'm sure the boys in there benefit from that."
White remains confident that despite the youthful nature of South Fremantle's team for 2013 that it can be a successful season.
With the amounted of talented players coming up from the dominant colts side combined with promising looking recruits like Mitch Banner and Alistair Gillespie, there's every reason White believes the Bulldogs can go well.
"The club had some good success last year with guys like Bewick and Saunders last year so they have kind of gone this way again in recruiting Gillespie," White said.
"He proved what he could do in the Foxtel Cup last year even though he couldn’t quite keep his spot in the Claremont league side, but we are hoping for a fair bit from him this year as well as some of our other recruits like Banner and those guys.
"Hopefully they can play some consistent and quality footy to be up there with the better players in the comp."

DUAL premiership defender Craig White returns to South Fremantle in 2013 after a year in Sydney with hardly any familiar faces left at the Bulldogs, but hopes to help set the example for a young group to get back the success he has been so used to.

White was already a vice-captain of the Bulldogs back in 2011 before he left for Sydney, but during his year away most of his fellow senior South Fremantle teammates moved on and in the meantime he picked up valuable coaching experience.

The 28-year-old coached the Balmain Dockers into a grand final and won his club's fairest and best award in the process, but what he has found on return to South Fremantle for the 2013 season is a playing group full of unfamiliar faces.

However, as a colts and reserves premiership player, and dual league flag winner as well, White has been used to success at South Fremantle and will be happy to help pass on any of his knowledge gained from being part of strong sides. 

His coach for his whole league career John Dimmer has been replaced by his teammate of 2011 Paul Hasleby and just Jarrad Winter, Reece Adams, Toby Bairstow, Ryan Cook, Brendon Gulley, Kris Miller, Andrew McCarrey, Paul Mugambwa and Ashton Hams remain from the team that lost the first semi-final to Subiaco.

Then tracing back to the 2009 premiership side, White, Miller, Mugambwa, Adams and Hams are the only ones left at South Fremantle so the turnover has been massive in recent years.

That means that as a dual premiership, 139-game player, White is one of the real senior players in the Bulldogs' line-up now as he returns for the 2013 season.

"It's definitely been quite different from 14 months ago when I left but it's been good and a bit of a challenge to get to know all of the younger guys. It presents new challenges, though, and hopefully some of those young guys keep stepping up and we can have some success," White said.

"The turnaround from our last premiership and even from 14 months ago when I left has been huge with a lot of those players so used to success after having so much coming through the juniors and then here at the club.

"Hopefully now this group can do the same. The colts have won the last two premierships and hopefully they can help the league side have some success."

Even though White was a vice-captain two years ago, with the likes of Miller, Ryan Murphy, Hasleby, Josh Head, McCarrey, Hayden North and Theo Adams there were plenty of other leaders on top of captain Toby McGrath.

White has certainly noticed that huge gulf now between the senior players and the exciting young group coming through at South Fremantle, and he is looking forward to the added responsibility to set the example.

With captain Ryan Cook and the likes of Adam McIntosh, Nick Borovac and Adam Guglielmana in the leadership group, it's young and White is happy to show them the ropes especially in the back-line.

"I was a leader as such two years ago but there were probably 15 guys in our team that could easily have been a leader, but now there are only four of us who are over the age of 25 or 26 so it does put a bit more emphasis on being a good leader with so many young guys looking up to you," he said.

"It just means that you have to set all the right examples. It's a young defensive group, but a lot of our new leaders this year have come from there with McIntosh and Borovac, and then guys like Dylan Ross and Brendon Gulley if they can put their hand up and keep playing consistent footy hopefully we can gel together and form a good defence."

Given that the likes of McGrath, Head, Murphy and North all retired in 2012, the return of White helps to offset some of the experience lost, and he also feels it was important for veterans like Miller, McCarrey and Mugambwa to play on also. 

"You can't buy experience and the senior guys we still have here at the club have been part of some success," he said.

"We have always had a winning culture around the club and to still have those guys around the club, it helps to pass on that winning culture to the guys coming through and hopefully it means we can start having success with these guys coming through as well."

White has an enormous amount of respect and gratitude towards his South Fremantle coach for all of his 139 matches and his two premierships to date so was a little surprised when Dimmer left at the end of the 2011 season.

However, he has instantly been impressed by the approach that Hasleby is having and has no doubt that the midfielders in the group will benefit from his expertise in particular.

"Obviously I was under John for all of his time here after I started in his first year and they are completely different coaches. John was very good with man management where as Hase is very in-tune with today's game," he said.

"His game plan is quite basic and easy to follow, but he knows what needs to happen for it to work and he's got his system in place. Hopefully throughout the season you can see his game plan in action and we can win plenty of games with it.

"Our midfielders can all relate to him as well. He obviously has only been out of the game a couple of years and still knows what is required to be an elite midfielder.

"He's still in tune with the AFL and obviously the WAFL, and the boys can look up to him and try to play like him in some ways more than someone who has been out of the game for 15 or 20 years. Hase has a more hands on approach with the midfielders and I'm sure the boys in there benefit from that."

White remains confident that despite the youthful nature of South Fremantle's team for 2013 that it can be a successful season.

With the amounted of talented players coming up from the dominant colts side combined with promising looking recruits like Mitch Banner and Alistair Gillespie, there's every reason White believes the Bulldogs can go well.

"The club had some good success last year with guys like Bewick and Saunders last year so they have kind of gone this way again in recruiting Gillespie," White said.

"He proved what he could do in the Foxtel Cup last year even though he couldn’t quite keep his spot in the Claremont league side, but we are hoping for a fair bit from him this year as well as some of our other recruits like Banner and those guys.

"Hopefully they can play some consistent and quality footy to be up there with the better players in the comp."

By Chris Pike