Fremantle coach Mark Harvey has defended his selection strategy for the round 21 clash with Hawthorn at Aurora Stadium, despite his weakened outfit slumping to a 116-point loss.

“We’re not in it to please other clubs,” he said.

“We think what we did today was right for our team in the next two weeks.”

With 16 first-choice players missing through a mixture of injury and a desire to freshen up before a crunch match with Carlton next Friday night, Harvey was candid about his aims for the trip to Tasmania.

“Just to play another competitive game,” he said. “I thought we were outclassed, that would be fair to say. That can happen.”

Facing the prospect of the longest road trip in footy, Fremantle flew to Launceston without a host of big names including Matthew Pavlich and Aaron Sandilands and lost veteran on-baller Paul Hasleby before kick-off.

“We made a decision as a club what to do today,” he said. “We think it’s the right thing going forward, so maybe in the short term it doesn’t look that way, but we think in the next week or two that we needed to do that.

“We never sacrificed today. We’ve got 46 players on our list and there were no first-gamers out there today. We have done this over the last three years extensively. We have played younger players in our team.

“I think individually it’s how guys can take it or whether they look at their own performance and want to do something about it the following week.

“There’s all sorts of different aspects that should be considered. I tend to look at the more positive outlook on particular players when you have a team like that today.”

Without making excuses for his team’s performance, Harvey pointed out Freo’s unenviable position when it came to away games throughout the year.

“I think I would love you guys to experience being on the road 12 to 14 times prior to today,” he said.

“This is not an hour flight. Not a two-hour flight. Just take that into consideration. If we’ve had 14 trips like this I think we should be looking at exemptions. I’m waiting to hear an answer on it.”

He also rejected the notion that the strategy could backfire if Freo were beaten next week by Carlton and forced to play an interstate final.

“That’s their prerogative, if that’s how former players [think] … perhaps you want to name them?” Harvey said.

“We’ll do what we think is right from the club and team point of view. We won’t be getting distracted by ex-players that want to comment on something they probably don’t know too much about if you’re not involved internally at football clubs.”

Nor did Harvey believe the AFL would be concerned by the nature of his selection in what was the competition’s biggest losing margin for the 2010 season, even though it had the potential to impact on sports betting markets.

“We don’t play football for betting. That’s one thing I will make clear. We’re not playing the game for betting and if we get to that case, that’s when the AFL will intervene.”

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