IT’S not often Dockers and Eagles see eye to eye.
But Fremantle footballer Michael Barlow changed his colours momentarily on Monday night when he joined North Warrnambool Eagles’ pre-season training.
Barlow trained at Bushfield Recreation Reserve as his Dockers teammates were put through a gruelling three-kilometre time trial in Perth.
The strong-bodied midfielder, in Warrnambool for a family wedding, taught the Hampden league Eagles new drills and passed tips on to their new coach Bernard Moloney.
Barlow’s brother Herb, who broke his leg two years after his younger brother’s stunning 2010 AFL debut season was cut short because of a similar break, plays for North Warrnambool Eagles.
Barlow, 25, has notched up 70 AFL games since Fremantle took a punt on him in the 2009 rookie draft.
He was instrumental as the Dockers reached their first grand final in September, earning best-on-ground honours for his 32-disposal, three-goal heroics in their upset qualifying final win over Geelong at Kardinia Park.
Moloney said the Eagles were rapt the Dockers’ ball magnet opted to train with them.
“It was really nice. He gave us a few ideas and ran drills for us,” he said.
“It was a bit of a bonus for the boys to have someone like him at training.
“He went through a few set ups they do over at Freo and basic training drills, like using the footy well.
“It was good to get a few different ideas and hopefully we’ll put them into our game plan now.”
Moloney said he was unsure if Barlow would train with the Eagles again before returning to Western Australia.
“He said he really enjoyed his time in country footy and I said there is a position for him if he wants it,” Moloney joked.
The Eagles are three weeks into their pre-season campaign.
Moloney said there was an emphasis on fitness before the Christmas break.
“We have been doing a lot of strength and conditioning work and on the way we’d like to move the ball, keep position and what to do when we don’t have the footy,” he said.
The 2013 preliminary finalists have lost three proven goalkickers in David Haynes, Robbie Gregg and Jake Myles.
Moloney said it was imperative they found new avenues to goal but stressed they would be a “defence-oriented side”.
“It is a completely different team to last year,” he said.
Moloney said he was unsure where his son Heath, a Camperdown ruckman, would play next season.
“I’ll leave it up to him to work out what he wants to do,” he said.