Ibbotson returns for top of the table clash
Ibbotson, who has been out since sustaining the injury in round two, was one of two changes, with Alex Silvagni also returning after one week out with an ankle injury.
Ruckman Kepler Bradley and recruit Dylan Roberton (general soreness) have come out of the side that won at the Gabba last Saturday night.
Nick Suban, who is fit again after injuring an ankle in round three, and Antoni Grover, who performed well for Subiaco last week in his first game back since a pre-season knee injury, have been named as emergencies along with Bradley.
The winner of Friday night’s clash will sit alone atop the AFL ladder, a position Fremantle has never occupied in its history.
But Fremantle will have to accomplish the feat off the back of an away trip to Brisbane and a shortened preparation.
Fremantle coach Harvey said the Magpies, who share a 6-1 win/loss record with Fremantle, did not have many weaknesses Fremantle could attempt to expose.
“They are as good a pressuring side, as good a scoring side in the competition, and they have a defensive unit that has been together for a number of years,” he said “There’s not too many holes.”
Despite this match featuring two of the three highest scoring teams this season, Harvey hinted at the possibility of a low-scoring affair on Friday night because of the way both sides had shown they could apply pressure on their opponents.
He also dismissed the result of the last year’s meeting between the teams, an 84-point Collingwood victory at the MCG, as having any bearing on Friday’s outcome.
“We have 10 different players for a start,” Harvey said. “A lot can change in the space of eight or ten months. We are playing over here on a longer ground. Those sorts of things.”
Harvey said winning six of the club’s first seven games this season had helped heighten the confidence levels of his younger players.
“It allows your younger players to anticipate quicker, to make quicker decisions without worrying about the consequence all the time,” he said.
Harvey said Friday night’s game would offer his team a stern test against a team he rated as the best in the competition thus far in 2010.
“It will be a great judgment for us and where we are at,” he said. “Our young players are looking forward to it and our older players are showing the way. They are more experienced than us, Collingwood. What that counts for in a big game like this? We’re about to find out.”
The game against the Magpies has sold-out and will be screened into Perth households on Channel 7 at the earlier time of 7.00pm on a half-hour delay.