Magpie spies spotted by Freo
Collingwood’s attempt at a secret intelligence raid ahead of Friday night’s blockbuster with Fremantle has been sprung by Dockers coach Mark Harvey.
With Friday night’s Subiaco Oval sell-out to determine the outright leader on the AFL ladder after eight rounds, Harvey revealed today he had been made aware of two Collingwood assistant coaches arriving in Perth early.
Their intention would seem to get any early knowledge on Freo’s manpower and methods, a tactic Harvey said Mick Malthouse and the club are well known for.
“We have had a couple of sniffer dogs at the airport, and they tell me that two assistant coaches are here trying to get some research on us,” Harvey said.
“They are doing their intelligence, just like we are. And I think you will find that is a big part of their work in progress.
“But working under a guy like Sheeds (Kevin Sheedy), I have been fully aware of how you can operate behind closed doors. And it is fair to say we do a lot of it ourselves.”
All Fremantle’s training sessions this week have been shut, with Harvey throwing up the possibility of several changes this week.
Antoni Grover, Alex Silvagni, Garrick Ibbotson, Nick Suban and Byron Schammer are all in contention to return to the side.
Harvey also said he would be contacting umpires boss Jeff Gieschen to clarify the ruling around the Collingwood tactic of shepherding, or screening, the man on the mark to allow the player with the ball space to move.
Used most notably by Harry O’Brien this season, Harvey questioned whether it was within the laws of the game.
“How far can you block off a mark from a kick out? – we are going to get a bit of clarification,” Harvey said.
“They do (it a bit) and it appears to be a fair way off the ball.”
With the Dockers a chance to go atop the AFL ladder on their own for the first time in the club’s history, Harvey said the pressure which comes with a big game could be a factor in the outcome.
“It is a different type of pressure, so the pressure is you are playing the best team in the competition at this point of the season,” Harvey said.
“It will be a great judgement of us and where we are at. We have got to be measured about the game, and the enormity of where the two teams are.
“They are more experienced than us Collingwood, what it counts for in a big game like this we are about to find out.
“Whenever we have looked like, as a club, doing something then things have got away from us – I can’t see that (this time).”