Don’t judge us yet: Harvey
FREMANTLE coach Mark Harvey believes his side’s performances so far this year should be judged after the mid-season break, not in a testing fortnight that starts on Sunday against St Kilda.
The club is currently fourth on the AFL ladder and faces St Kilda (third) at Subiaco Oval and then Carlton (fifth) at Etihad Stadium in a two-week stretch that could cement a top four spot.
But Harvey said with a number of key players set to return after the mid-season break, his side should be judged on its form after the week off.
“A lot of teams are just starting to get caught up in the injury toll – we’re one of them,” Harvey said from Fremantle Oval on Wednesday.
“I wouldn’t necessarily be judging us on the next two weeks, it’ll be more after the break.
“The two teams that we play [in the next two weeks] are in front of us and behind us, so it’s an interesting two games.
“We’ve got a number of guys on the sidelines, so we’re right into our list from a selection point of view. (But) we’d like to think that we can still match it with these two teams over the next two weeks.”
Fremantle is missing defenders Luke McPharlin (knee) and Greg Broughton (foot), but could be boosted by Alex Silvagni’s return from an ankle injury this week.
Harvey said midfielder Paul Hasleby would be tested on Thursday and the side was likely to make two changes based on team structure and form.
Stephen Milne is shaping as a key target for Fremantle, with the goalsneak booting 11 goals in his last three games, all St Kilda wins.
He kicked five majors and had 21 possessions when the teams last met at Etihad Stadium in round four and Harvey said he had become the Saints’ best forward in Nick Riewoldt’s absence.
“He’s in really good form, in fact they’re going to him a lot more because Riewoldt’s not in the side,” Harvey said. “We’ve taken note of that.
“We’ve had a look at some match-ups that we’ve used on him the last couple of times we’ve played St Kilda. They’ve beaten us the last five times, so it’s something we need to change.
“He might be getting more delivery and supply to him and that can tend to happen when your best forward’s out.”