Harvey hopes key players will sign
FREMANTLE coach Mark Harvey is hopeful his two-year contract extension will further unite the playing group and encourage the side’s key players, including captain Matthew Pavlich, to re-sign.
Harvey, who is now contracted until the end of the 2012 season, said Wednesday’s announcement was good for the club’s stability as it looked to build on an impressive 9-4 start to the season.
Pavlich is out of contract at the end of this season along with star defender Chris Tarrant and key midfielder David Mundy, but Harvey was confident his signature would encourage key members of the playing group to re-commit.
“Hopefully this can instill a united group and make sure that we stick together with what we’re doing and make sure we finish things at whatever stage that presents itself,” the coach said from Fremantle Oval on Wednesday.
“They’ve been through a lot in their careers, or at various stages of their careers.
“They’re the real drivers behind what we’re doing I would have thought, and they understand that.
“They’ve always been spoken so highly about amongst us internally, so we’d like to think at some stage we can keep everyone together.”
Given his age, Mundy, 24, would be the player most likely to interest Gold Coast at the end of this season, with the new franchise able to sign one uncontracted player from each club.
However chief executive Steve Rosich said Fremantle was pleased with where negotiations sat with Mundy, Pavlich and Tarrant and insisted the club was well placed to retain all of its key personnel.
“We don’t make comments externally on the progress of contract negotiations, but [we’re] very confident that we’ll retain all the key people on and off the field at the Fremantle Football Club,” he said.
“The rules allow the new clubs to target one uncontracted player, but we’re really comfortable that we are an employer of choice, that players are enjoying being coached by Mark and enjoying being part of the Fremantle Football Club.”
Rosich said the club was always confident it would be in a position to re-sign Harvey after the coach, chief executive and football manager Chris Bond implemented an aggressive youth policy in 2008.
“The key measure that we’ve been looking at, in concert with Mark, is the continued development of our playing list,” Rosich said.
“It’s pleasing to see that transpire so far this season.
“I think the planning we put in place a few years ago holds us in good stead, but we’re under no illusions it’s a tough competition and things can change quickly.”
Harvey said the move to reinvigorate the club’s list and give debuts to 16 new players in the last two seasons had been the most crucial decision of his coaching career, but he was not surprised with the team’s rapid improvement this season.
“I think if you get the right people around the players, they know their role and how to actually fast-track players,” he said.
“It probably hasn’t surprised me as much as the outside world.
“We’ve created an opportunity, and that’s all it is at this stage.”