By Andrew Johnston
QUEANBEYAN Tigers small forward Brett Fruend says he hopes to return to the form that saw him play a key role in the club’s 2012 NEAFL Eastern Conference premiership.
Fruend will reunite with the Tigers next season after spending a year with Corowa-Rutherglen in the Ovens and Murray League.
The 27-year-old was a major player in the Tigers’ 2012 premiership triumph, kicking 46 goals that year to finish the season as the club’s second leading goal kicker behind full-forward James Kavanagh.
And after an injury interrupted year with Corowa, Fruend said he was looking forward to his return to the more familiar surrounds of Dairy Farmers Park.
“I think I had a pretty good year in 2012 so if I can produce something near to that form for the club again I’ll be happy,” he said.
“It’s a different style of footy in the Ovens and Murray League [to the NEAFL] and I definitely didn’t take my best form down there [last season] but I did as much as I could.
“The game plan we had at Queanbeyan [in 2012] suited me so I’m just looking forward to see what changes there will be this year and hopefully I can play my part again.”
While Fruend did not pull on a Tigers jersey last season, neither was he far from the action. The Queanbeyan resident was an interested spectator for much of the Tigers’ campaign.
Fruend continued to commute from Queanbeyan to Corowa each weekend to fulfil his Ovens and Murray commitments.
That travel burden however, saw him required to undertake his skills and fitness training almost entirely on an individual basis.
“I did miss being around the boys,” Fruend said. “There’s no better way to learn than when you’ve got the other boys running around with you. That’s what makes you better as a player.
“Just kicking the footy around…a couple of times a week didn’t really keep my skills up as well as I would have liked.
“Travelling down each week and not knowing all the boys that well was a bit hard. Just to get back to that footy family at the Tigers will be good.”
Fruend also said he was confident he has fully recovered from the serious hand injury that forced him to sit out the entire second half 2013.
The small forward broke his hand in two places after being trodden on during Corowa’s midseason clash against Wangaratta.