Katanning product and South Fremantle star Haiden Schloithe hungry to atone as WAFL prepares for short season

Taj StubberGreat Southern Herald
South Fremantles' Haiden Schloithe handballs last year.
Camera IconSouth Fremantles' Haiden Schloithe handballs last year. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper

Sandover medallist and Katanning product Haiden Schloithe is eager to help South Fremantle bounce back from last year’s WAFL grand final heartache.

Schloithe and his Bulldog teammates have returned to training in groups of 20 in preparation for a shortened nine-round season that will begin on August 1.

The 2017 Sandover Medal winner and three-time fairest and best winner said he was hungry to go one step further this season after losing last year’s grand final to Subiaco by a whopping 96-points.

“It was really disappointing to lose the grand final obviously— it feels like a million years ago,” Schloithe said.

“We are eager to put our best foot forward. That grand final was not what we are about.

“Hopefully with a similar team to last year and getting some blokes back we can go one step further.”

The 26-year-old star midfielder re-signed on a one-year deal with the Bulldogs at the end of last year and said he was delighted to be back on the training track.

Katanning product Haiden Schloithe in action last year for South Fremantle.
Camera IconKatanning product Haiden Schloithe in action last year for South Fremantle. Credit: Jackson Flindell

He is joined in the Bulldogs league side with fellow Katanning footballer Kade Stewart.

“We have started training in groups of 20 people after training in groups of 10 previously, so we have probably been back at training for a few weeks now,” he said.

“We were given programs to do by the club during isolation, which were updated weekly to the group, and we were doing them every second day until we were allowed groups of 10,” he said.

“We are still restricted as to what we can do at training, it’s non-contact.

“But it’s a step in the right direction.”

An apprentice electrician, Schloithe said a good start will be vital to doing well in the WAFL this season.

“This season outlook is unique but I think it’s the fairest way going about it, everything is a bit unknown,” he said.

“No one has answers really.

“I think if you’re going to do well in a season like this you have to win games early.”

South Fremantle's Haiden Schloithe gets a kick away out of the middle.
Camera IconSouth Fremantle's Haiden Schloithe gets a kick away out of the middle. Credit: Daniel Wilkins

Schloithe has played 149 league games in nine seasons with the Bulldogs and said he was excited to be back in the kennel.

“It feels like we have been doing pre-season since November, I don’t like pre-season at the best of times,” he said.

“It’s like we have just been running laps and up and back for six or seven months.”

This year’s WAFL competition will begin on August 1 with the grand final on October 18.

Reserves, colts and the WAFL women’s competition will all start at the same time, but may be played on different days.

Final details around fixtures including finals format, player payments and the financial model were finalised at a WA Football Commission board meeting on Tuesday night.

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