Form fine, as Pav battles minor injury
FREMANTLE coach Mark Harvey has revealed that captain Matthew Pavlich is carrying a minor ankle injury but says the star forward is in no doubt for Sunday’s crunch game against the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.
Pavlich, who was held goalless in Fremantle’s 11-point win over Melbourne last Sunday, didn’t train on Wednesday but Harvey said the injury was nothing major and was being managed.
The coach also launched a strong defence of his skipper’s form, which has waned in recent weeks after a dominant start to the season saw him lead the Coleman Medal race between rounds seven and 10.
“It’s one of those small injuries where you’ve just got to manage it through the week,” Harvey said from the WACA Ground on Wednesday morning.
“He’s just got an ankle niggle, that’s all. He’s managing it, so are we and in time it’ll disappear, so it’s nothing major.
“All I know is that he’s leading from the front, he’s doing what we ask of him, he’s not going to always be on top of his game.”
Pavlich, who often played with a loose Melbourne defender in front of him on the weekend, has averaged one goal a game over the last five weeks after kicking 39 in the first 11 games.
Harvey said the captain was still having an enormous influence on games and it would be not be accurate to judge his output purely on statistics.
“The critical nature … is very much unwarranted”, the coach said.
“He does a lot of things that don’t necessarily reflect stats (and) I think the more you guys look at the game, look beyond stats when you judge it. That’s what I would say.
“This guy has shouldered a lot of responsibility, he can make something happen out of nothing and how can you judge that? It isn’t judged.
“He’s always in and around areas of the game where we need him.”
Fremantle will be without Alex Silvagni this week, with the first-year defender battling a groin injury, while tagger Ryan Crowley has swelling on his knee and is rated a 50-50 chance by the coach.
Harvey said Antoni Grover would return from a hamstring injury, although star full-back Chris Tarrant (heel) is no certainty and Chris Mayne (ankle) will not play this week.
Defenders Greg Broughton and Luke McPharlin bounced back impressively from lengthy stints on the sidelines last week and Harvey said having up to four defenders returning to the side in a two-week period was not a concern.
“They’re a pretty solid defence who have played a lot together, (so) I wouldn’t have thought it would be a problem,” he said.