Fremantle won’t be intimidated by Cats: Barlow
Fremantle midfielder Michael Barlow says his teammates will not be intimidated by Geelong’s finals experience or the unfamiliar MCG surroundings in Friday night’s semi-final.
His side has not played at the MCG since round 20 last year and have not won there since round four, 2007.
However, Barlow believes the excitement of Fremantle’s first semi-final since 2006 will overshadow the hurdle of playing such an established side on unfamiliar territory.
“They’re not daunted at all by the challenge to go to the MCG and play a finals game because it’s every kid’s dream to play on the MCG in a final,” he said.
“They’re really excited and looking forward to playing one of the great sides of the past era.”
Fremantle will train at the MCG on Thursday afternoon in what will be the players’ first walk on the hallowed surface this year.
Barlow conceded he would like to play at the ground more often, given Fremantle’s fixture saw them play just two games at the ground in the past two seasons.
“I would love to play at the MCG. It’s kind of a dream of everyone growing up playing junior footy,” he said.
“I’m probably a little bit disappointed we haven’t had the chance to play there but that’s the way it’s rolled out.
“It’s just a patch of grass, the same as Subiaco or Etihad Stadium or Deakin Reserve in Shepparton … with four goal posts at each end.”
The 22-year-old has been in Melbourne all week after accepting the ALFPA Best First Year Player award on Monday evening.
He caught up with his teammates on Wednesday night after they made the trip across the country ahead of Friday night’s do-or-die match.
“It’s just a normal away game for us. The attitude is really good and there was a lot of chin wagging and paying out on each other because that’s the way men get along,” he said.
“We’ll prepare over the next 24 hours as we have all year. We’ve been okay on the road this year so we’re not trying to do anything differently.”
Barlow, who will miss the finals as he continues to recover from a broken leg, said Aaron Sandilands would still be an imposing figure even if he wasn’t fully fit.
He also said his close friend Rhys Palmer was coping well with his recent omission from the side and was in line for a recall to face the Cats.
“If he’s in, we know we’re going to get a really good four-quarter effort from him,” he said.
“He’s really driven and wants to get back in from being overlooked for a few weeks in a row.”
Chris Tarrant remains an outside chance to return from a knee injury should Fremantle progress deeper into the finals.