Harvey wants protection for Sandilands
FREMANTLE is compiling a detailed submission for the AFL umpiring department in an effort to see All-Australian ruckman Aaron Sandilands given more protection at stoppages.
Coach Mark Harvey said the club had huge concerns about Sandilands’ treatment at boundary throw-ins and ball-ups, with opposition ruckmen “wrestling” the 211cm star well before play restarts.
Harvey joked that cage fighter Brock Lesnar was being approached to help Sandilands deal with opposition tactics, but he was serious about taking the club’s concerns to AFL director of umpiring Jeff Gieschen.
“There’s a huge concern about it; effectively before the ball gets either thrown in, or whether it’s a ball-up, they’re wrestling Aaron,” Harvey said from the WACA ground on Wednesday.
“We are compiling a lot of evidence and data about it. They will get that very soon.
“Do you know who Brock Lesnar is? He’s from the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), okay, he’s the world champion. It’s getting that bad that we’re going to have to bring him over just to get some wrestling techniques for Aaron.
“It is a real concern, because he’s getting double-teamed and he’s getting wrestled and he’s getting stripped. In my eyes, it’s illegal.”
Sandilands has received 20 free kicks this season compared to Melbourne’s Mark Jamar, who has been awarded a league-high 39 free kicks.
Harvey said opposition big men were coming up with new ways to negate Sandilands including holding his legs, which Jamar did on one occasion last Sunday.
“They’re looking at different ways and methods of trying to control what he’s doing, and it should be scrutinised a lot more heavily than what it is,” the coach said.
“If you have a look at the weekend, he got three or four free kicks and a lot of it was for holding arms or for holding legs and that’s evidence of it.”
Fremantle faces the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Sunday in a clash that could decide which side finishes in fourth spot and earns a double chance for September.
Harvey said he expected the last six rounds of the season to throw up some unexpected results and this week would be a good challenge for his side.
“They’ve certainly got a lot of older players probably hanging off an opportunity to get to a grand final, we’re aware of that,” he said of the Bulldogs.
“It’s been a side that’s regularly been in the finals, so it’s a good challenge for us.
“Wherever we finish, that’s what we’ll handle.”