We can cover key losses: Ibbotson
MIDFIELDER Garrick Ibbotson is confident Fremantle can cover for the loss of up to three key players this week when the third-placed side travels to face the Sydney Swans at the SCG.
Fremantle will be without in-form key defender Luke McPharlin, who suffered a medial ligament injury against Collingwood last Friday night, while David Mundy (knee) and Greg Broughton (foot) are in doubt.
Ibbotson said Antoni Grover, who is returning from injury though the WAFL, was the perfect replacement for McPharlin, while the club now had the depth to cover the other losses.
“Antoni Grover’s playing again and he’s been playing well in the WAFL,” Ibbotson said from Fremantle Oval on Monday.
“He’s probably the ideal person to come straight back in for Luke McPharlin.
“Obviously David Mundy’s an important player to us, and he’s part of the leadership group. Outside of him playing good footy, he’s good to have on the field as far as his experience goes.
“I’m sure if David Mundy doesn’t get up for the weekend, we’ll have someone who can cover his spot and do it well.
“The footy club would like to think that we have enough players to be able to fill spots like that.”
Mundy, who has emerged as a key clearance player for Fremantle this season, played through injury against Collingwood but was unable to have an impact, finishing with 13 possessions and no clearances.
The Swans have also been hit by injury and suspension in recent weeks and will face Fremantle without key defender Craig Bolton (achilles), Jarred Moore (ankle), Mark Seaby (ankle) and Shane Mumford (suspension).
Daniel Bradshaw, who missed Saturday’s loss to the Bulldogs, is expected to return, while Ben McGlynn is a 50-50 chance.
Ibbotson said Fremantle did not view the Swans as vulnerable ahead of Saturday’s clash.
“They’re obviously a really good side, especially at the SCG, and we’ve lost some players as well,” he said.
“We might have to get a few guys that will hopefully come into the side and try and put their best foot forward.”
Fremantle has not won at the SCG since round two, 1996, losing nine consecutive games at the ground and winning just twice from 11 matches.
However, Ibbotson said Fremantle would take confidence out of its drought-breaking win against the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba in round six, the club’s first ever win at that ground.
Ibbotson made a surprise return from a six-week shoulder injury against Collingwood, and said he felt good on return after maintaining his fitness while on the sidelines.
“Because it was an upper-body injury I could still run – I was running from the first week it happened right until the weekend,” he said.
“Harves (coach Mark Harvey) spoke to me on the Thursday before the game and said, ‘We’re confident you’ve got the run in you and you’ve done enough footy stuff to be able to come back in the team and play the footy you’d like to play’.
“It gave me a lot of confidence for him to say that to me.”