No changes for Cats clash
Rhys Palmer, Des Headland and Kepler Bradley have all been named as emergencies and are on standby should there be any late changes.
The match against Geelong will be Fremantle’s first ever final at the MCG and the club’s first match at the ground since round 20, 2009.
Fremantle senior coach Mark Harvey said on 6PR that the entire club was excited to be in Melbourne during finals time.
“It really hits you when you arrive at the airport and you see the mass of media and the supporters,” he said.
“Everyone’s wishing you good luck and all you read in the papers over here is about finals football.
“Melbourne is entrenched in this game and you feel it straight away.”
Harvey said going into the match against Geelong as rank underdogs sat nicely with him, adding that most of the pressure would be on the Cats.
“There’s a lot of articles about Geelong players and how they played last week and what they’re going to do tomorrow night,” he said.
Harvey said the match would be an interesting challenge for his young group, who he said had performed admirably in last week’s elimination final.
“If we can play to that standard again tomorrow night, it’s going to hold us in the game for a long period of time,” he said.
But Harvey was well aware of the enormity of the task against a side that has played in the past three AFL Grand Finals, adding the Cats’ result last week and the weather conditions on Friday night as other factors.
“Geelong on the rebound is always going to be an issue,” Harvey said of the Cats’ thrilling loss to St Kilda last Friday night.
“There might be a little bit of rain at the MCG, which we will have to adjust to quickly.
“Physically we’re going to have to match them early. That’s where we really have to be involved in the game.”
Harvey said winning the hard ball would be crucial to the outcome of the cutthroat semi-final.
“The contested ball is massive against Geelong,” he said.
“The main comments coming out from Geelong about last week’s loss is that that’s where they were lacking early.”
The coach also had a warning to the Cats about underestimating Freo’s exciting crop of youngsters on Friday night.
“If some of our younger players aren’t held in high regard by their direct opponents, they may well have an effect on the game as well,” he said.
“Obviously we’ve got some experienced players that the opposition focuses on, like Pavlich and Sandilands.
“But some of our younger players can do some damage quickly so we’ll be taking them on.”
Harvey said if Fremantle could curb the influence of Cats’ superstar Gary Ablett, his side would be “in the ballpark”.
“Now we all know that he’s a genius, we’ve got to find a genius to play on him,” he said.
“They had a tough game on the weekend, they’re expected to play in a grand final and it’s their backyard.”
Fremantle defeated an under-strength Geelong side earlier this season at Subiaco in round 3, and although he knows many factors are different this time in, Harvey said his side would be taking something out from that win.
“We managed to beat them early in the year,” he said.
“It doesn’t mean anything but at least we have the confidence and the knowledge that we can match it with them.”
The winner of Friday night’s clash will play minor premiers Collingwood at the MCG next Friday night for a spot in the 2010 Toyota AFL Grand Final.
B: D.Roberton – A.Grover – R.Crowley
HB: R.Hayden – L.McPharlin – G.Broughton
C: G.Ibbotson – D.Mundy – S.Hill
HF: C.Mayne – M.Pavlich – M.Walters
F: J.Crichton – M.Johnson – M.DeBoer
Foll: A.Sandilands – N.Suban – P.Duffield
Int: A.McPhee, A.Silvagni, A.Morabito, N.Fyfe
Emerg: K.Bradley, D.Headland, R.Palmer
B: Josh Hunt – Matthew Scarlett – Darren Milburn
HB: Corey Enright – Harry Taylor – James Kelly
C: Cameron Ling – Jimmy Bartel – Joel Corey
HF: Paul Chapman – James Podsiadly – Mathew Stokes
F: Steve Johnson – Cameron Mooney – Travis Varcoe
Foll: Brad Ottens – Joel Selwood – Gary Ablett
Int: Tom Lonergan, Tom Hawkins, David Wojcinski, Shannon Byrnes
Emerg: Andrew Mackie, Taylor Hunt, Mark Blake