Fremantle coach Mark Harvey is struggling to understand Michael Johnson’s dabble with cocaine in the early hours of Sunday morning, but says his suspension has had no affect on the team’s preparation to take on Sydney this weekend.

The Dockers will fly out to the Harbour City today without Johnson, who was yesterday suspended for six weeks, and five games, following the charge by WA Police earlier this week.

Speaking on radio 6PR this morning, Harvey said he had been deeply disappointed by Johnson’s actions.

“I am more disappointed (than let down), you never really understand what players can go through and how they can be misled about life,” Harvey said.

“The players have been pretty much kept away, and I said to the players last night it is about how we handle it and more importantly how we handle it on Saturday (against Sydney).

“That will be the memory.

“We are focused OK – it is about building on that (start) no matter what happens throughout the course of the year.”

Sitting at 6-2 and third on the AFL ladder, Fremantle will be looking for a first win in Sydney in ten attempts, and will also have to counter the publicity surrounding at home and the emotion following Brett Kirk’s retirement announcement yesterday.

Harvey claimed despite the intense scrutiny on the club since Monday, the players had been kept distant –despite the leadership group’s involvement in Johnson’s punishment.

“I think we have had one meeting about how to deal with it, and basically that has been it.

“Michael is a fantastic guy and has been very much a pleasure to coach, and to coach in the future aswell.

“Everyone makes mistakes, and it what you learn from that in the future.”

Kepler Bradley will be Johnson’s replacement in the side, with some good news in the availability of David Mundy after fears over a knee injury.

Harvey said Johnson would not be guaranteed an immediate return to the side after his suspension was served.

“That will depend on how the team was going, how Michael has come back from it, and to see whether he was actually fit enough on the back of not playing for that period of time,” Harvey said.

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