Fremantle Dockers AFLW defender Janelle Cuthbertson says players are relaxed despite border threat to season

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Braden QuartermaineThe West Australian
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Freo players ham it up for the team photo.
Camera IconFreo players ham it up for the team photo. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian

If Fremantle’s AFLW team are worried about the uncertainty that lies ahead this season, it wasn’t showing on Saturday as they came together for the team photo at Fremantle Oval.

It was all smiles as the Dockers fronted the cameras before hitting the track for a long session at the historic port venue, while West Coast trained at their Lathlain base.

The sixth season of the AFLW competition is slated to begin on the weekend of January 6-9, but how it will look remains up in the air given the maze of differing border and quarantine logistics.

Fremantle and West Coast loom as clubs that could be forced to spend long stretches in interstate hubs given WA’s closed border to Victoria where eight of the 14 teams are based.

All you need is love.
Camera IconAll you need is love. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian

Dockers defender Janelle Cuthbertson, who works full-time at the City of Joondalup, expected to be available for a full season regardless of travel requirements.

The All-Australian star said her teammates’ availability would be decided on a case-by-case basis.

“We’ve got a pretty big mixture of ages within the group. So there’s a few girls studying, a few working casual and the majority work full-time,” Cuthbertson said.

“I think for the majority, employers are very supportive of what we do and very understanding. There’s still three months until round one, so as that gets closer we’ll cross that bridge and work through each scenario as we need to.

“I’m in a position where if we have to go into a hub, that’s fine. I can work through that with my employers. They’re really flexible and supportive of me and my football.”

Janelle Cuthbertson goes through her paces.
Camera IconJanelle Cuthbertson goes through her paces. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian

Cuthbertson, a tennis convert, said the Dockers were again embracing high expectations after last season’s opening week finals exit.

“The girls have really come back in phenomenal shape and looking forward to hitting the track and getting the next couple of months of pre-season under our belts,” she said.

“We know that we’ve still got a lot of work to do, but we also know that we’re up there with the best. So we’re really excited to see what we can do this season.”

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