FREMANTLE coach Mark Harvey says playing in a young and exciting side should figure prominently in Chris Tarrant’s mind when the star full back makes a decision on his future at the end of this season.
 
Tarrant, who suffered medial ligament damage in Fremantle’s 75-point western derby win last Sunday, is aiming for a round-22 comeback, but speculation persists that he may return to Melbourne at the end of the season.
 
Harvey said the re-born defender, who is in the last year of a four-year deal, could play two more years at the top level in a Fremantle side that is building towards a successful period.

“If you were playing in a fairly exciting young side, and you could read the form, I think that would help with his decision,” Harvey said from Fremantle Oval on Wednesday.

“All I know, and it’s probably appropriate, is that he loves this place; it’s really turned around a lot of things for him.

“We have had discussions with him about how he’s feeling and about how many years he wants to play.
 
“I tend to talk to a player about his performance, how long he should play for and where, and that would be my main conversation with Chris.”

Fremantle received a double blow ahead of Saturday’s clash with North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium, with goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne joining Tarrant on the sidelines until at least round 22 with a stress reaction in his right foot.

Harvey said the livewire forward had provided crucial tackling pressure in attack this season, but there was no reason why that couldn’t be replaced.  

“If you have the desire and attitude that we had last weekend, and you can see a number of our players that put pressure on the opposition, then that’s a collective agreement that we should have between us no matter who’s in the side,” he said.  

“I think the team can cope with a little bit of disturbance from an injury point of view, (but) if you keep losing your A-graders then that can certainly take its toll.

“We can manipulate or change positions and hopefully have the same outcome.”

Chris Mayne shapes as a likely replacement for Ballantyne next week, but the 21-year-old is still recovering from a hot spot above his ankle and has been ruled out for Saturday’s clash.

Midfielder Rhys Palmer (shoulder) and Kepler Bradley (knee) are available to take on the Roos, while defender Alex Silvagni (groin) is close to returning.  

Harvey said Greg Broughton and Luke McPharlin were recent examples of injured players that had worked hard in rehab and returned to peak form almost instantly, giving Tarrant and Ballantyne hope ahead of the finals.  

“We’d like to think that the way they go about their rehab preparation, they train as hard if not harder than what they would when they’re playing,” he said.

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