Doubt over Sandilands, Pavlich
Fremantle coach Mark Harvey says ruckman Aaron Sandilands is unlikely to face Hawthorn at Aurora Stadium on Saturday, and more players – including captain Matthew Pavlich – could be rested for the tough road trip.
Injuries to key players have seen Fremantle lose three of its last four games, with the side needing one win in its last two matches to guarantee a home final in the first week of September.
With the side’s most important player likely to be sidelined for a third straight match, Harvey indicated that tough calls would be made on a number of other sore players, including Pavlich, who has been managed through an ankle injury.
“There’s a lot at stake, so we’ve just got to make the right decisions,” Harvey said from Fremantle Oval on Wednesday. “We regularly look at all our players, how many games are played, how many road trips, there’s a number of things to consider at this particular stage.
“You’re seeing a lot of teams have players that are out through general soreness or tiredness, whatever you want to call it. In the next two weeks that won’t be any different, it’s just how many players.
“We have a look at our management [and] our player loading, [and] we’ll make those decisions in the next 24 hours.”
Harvey said Sandilands, who is battling a heel injury diagnosed as plantar fasciitis, was “every likelihood” of returning for the Friday night showdown with Carlton in round 22 if he misses this week.
Pavlich had 19 possessions and no goals playing exclusively in the midfield against the Swans last Saturday and Harvey said the club had discussed resting him for the long road trip to Tasmania this week.
“Players are very understanding that we’ve got our finger on the pulse and we know what we’re doing,” Harvey said.
Livewire forward Chris Mayne faces an anxious wait to see if he will be available for Saturday’s clash, after his two-week suspension was downgraded to one-week by the WAFL tribunal.
Mayne, who is working his way back from an ankle injury, was reported playing for Perth’s reserves side at the weekend, and Harvey said the club would continue to push for a reprieve.
However, the appeal is set down for Thursday night, after Fremantle has named its team and flown out to Tasmania.
“I think the system at the WAFL level should fall into line with the AFL level and I’m not sure whether that’s totally the process at the moment,” Harvey said.
“For instance good behaviour, not having had any [charges] in the last five years, all those sorts of things [should apply]. If they’re contracted to the AFL then surely they should be judged on that system.”
Harvey said opportunities could present for Jay van Berlo and Justin Bollenhagen this week, while Clancee Pearce, Clayton Hinkley and Steven Dodd performed well in the WAFL.
Rhys Palmer was dropped for last week’s nine-point loss to the Swans and Harvey said he would also be considered at selection.
“He knows the things he needs to work on,” the coach said. “That’s not an external comment for me to make, but he knows what he needs to work on to be regularly in the side.”