Harvey hopeful of Ballantyne and Mayne for round 22
Fremantle coach Mark Harvey says he is hopeful injured duo Hayden Ballantyne and Chris Mayne will both play in the final round of the home and away season.
The pair – who Harvey dubbed ‘Batman and Robin’ – were fundamental ingredients in the team’s forward line together earlier this season not only for their goals but for their forward pressure.
Mayne was averaging four tackles and a goal per game before suffering an ankle injury. He has not played since round 11 but is in line to return for the home clash with Sydney the following weekend.
Ballantyne was yesterday ruled out for up to four weeks with a stress reaction in his foot. Up until then, the Sandover Medallist was enjoying a superb season with 32 goals while racking up three tackles per game.
But Harvey put on a brave face before training this afternoon, saying the team should be able to continue winning games despite the port club being frowned upon by the injury gods again.
“While we’ve had some injuries to some key players throughout the course of the year, we’ve still managed to be in the area of winning more games than we lose,” he said. “So yes it is (devastating) in the short term but we’d like to think (Ballantyne) would be back somewhere around 3-4 weeks.
“(But) if you have the desire and the attitude that we had last weekend and see a number of our players put pressure on the opposition, then that’s a collective agreement that we should have between us no matter who’s in the side.”
Not only are Ballantyne’s goals crucial for the team – he kicked six in the western derby on Sunday – “it is what he does off the ball that’s so important”, Harvey added.
The coach said the club was now trying to work out how Ballantyne’s injury developed but confirmed he would be a certain starter once he had recovered.
“He’s actually an interesting player,” Harvey said. “Quite regularly he stubs his toe when he kicks and things like that so we’re not sure.
“We’re trying to track back as to see why it may have happened, it’s not necessarily the load, it sometimes can be the way they land or if they kick and hit the ground, it can be a number of issues.
“He’s one of those guys that wouldn’t have to train. He’s got this gene in him that I’ve never seen and it’s an exciting gene without having to work too hard so he’s lucky.”
Harvey could not say if the team would be able to maintain its match-winning forward pressure without both Mayne and Ballantyne in the immediate term, but was hopeful the pair would be back by round 22.
“They were a dynamic duo when they were there, (now) one goes out one comes back,” Harvey said. “If we were to get them (about) round 22 back together, it might not be a bad thing.
“Batman and Robin (for) round 22.”
Michael Walters was an emergency for the derby on Sunday and could be in the mix to replace Ballantyne up front, while Roger Hayden – who started in attack on Sunday – is another possibility.
“I think (with our side) we can manipulate or change positions and hopefully have the same sort of outcome (as Sunday),” Harvey said.
Meanwhile, the coach dismissed newspaper reports of Port Adelaide player Daniel Motlop heading west, and refused to buy into speculation injured key defender Chris Tarrant could return east after the season.
” … All I know is that he loves this place, it’s really turned around a lot of things for him,” Harvey said. “He genuinely loves being here.
“I think he can play another year or two.”
Kepler Bradley and Rhys Palmer are in line to take on North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Saturday after sitting out the derby through injuries.