We can win at ‘G, says Pavlich
Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich says his side can overcome playing on the MCG for the first time this season and notch an incredible finals upset if it plays its own game on Friday night.
Fremantle’s last win on the MCG came in round four of 2007, and Friday night’s semi-final against Geelong will be its first match at the ground this season.
The club has been given permission to train at the venue on Thursday, weather permitting, but Pavlich said he was not fazed about playing a do-or-die final on unfamiliar turf.
“Everyone knows that we haven’t played there a whole heap recently, but it’s got green grass and goal posts at each end, so it’s not going to make any difference whatsoever to the way we play,” the skipper said from Fremantle Oval on Monday.
“We’re going to continue to play our brand of football – we want to win the contested football, we want to move the ball quickly, and Geelong are very similar.
“If we play the brand that we have been displaying for most of this year we can get the victory, but it’s important that we focus on the simple and basic things.
“It’s those behaviours and things that we value really highly [that will] get us the win.”
Fremantle stormed from 21 points down in the final quarter to beat Geelong in round three this season, but Pavlich said the club would not take much out of that performance.
“It was a long time ago and they had a lot of personnel out,” he said. “So I’m not entirely sure if you can draw much from that game.
“We’ll look at particular highlights or at lest some strategic decisions that we made going into that game.”
Since that famous win, recruit Adam McPhee has emerged as an important tagger for Fremantle, shutting down Lenny Hayes, Chris Judd and most recently Luke Hodge in Fremantle’s 30-point elimination final win on Saturday.
McPhee kept Hodge to just five possessions in the first three quarters to set up Fremantle’s win, and a big job on one of Gary Ablett or Paul Chapman looms this week.
“We’ve had a variety of players play on Gary in the past few seasons and have probably done a reasonable job on him,” Pavlich said.
“He’s going to be one of many that we’re going to have to take care of on the weekend.
“It’s been important for him (McPhee) to step into those roles and we’ve probably had one or two of our other midfielders out, so he’s probably assumed that position a bit more.”