Harvey unconcerned by early Fremantle exit
Fremantle coach Mark Harvey says he is not concerned following his side’s opening-round exit from the NAB Cup on Sunday night, despite falling to unfancied Hawthorn and West Coast outfits at Patersons Stadium.
The highly-favoured Fremantle will instead turn its attention to the NAB Challenge series after a 14-point loss to Hawthorn was followed by a two-goal loss to cross-town rival West Coast.
Harvey said there were up to 12 players missing from Fremantle’s preferred line-up across the two matches on Sunday, and he would expect his side to play its best football closer to round one of the season proper.
“It’s what sort of weight you hold your first game in … we’re trying different things at this stage,” the coach said on Sunday night.
“We haven’t played a practice game before this, and you find out a little bit about your playing list.
“We don’t go through to round two, but so be it.
“We find out particularly about the newer players and whether they can handle the tempo and the decision-making that’s involved at this level and you find out different things, like perhaps where they might fit in.”
Harvey was still critical of his side’s fumbling and said the ball-movement across the two matches wasn’t fluent enough.
“Then there was a little bit of intensity, particularly in the second game we lacked,” he said.
“It’s interesting with turnovers though, I’m going to count how many turnovers came from that new rule with the boundary line throw in … I think there would have been on average 15 to 20 per game and that’s not a natural turnover.
“That happened a lot of times to our guys just running the ball or being caught being the last player touching the ball before it went out of bounds.”
Mature-age recruit Tendai Mzungu was a positive for Fremantle, racking up 14 possessions against Hawthorn and nine against West Coast in the shortened matches.
Harvey said the 24-year-old was a candidate to fill the half-back void left by the injured Roger Hayden.
“He looked pretty sure with his ball handling [and he] looks like he’s got the running intent,” the coach said.
“Over coming weeks we’ll find out a lot more; guys are still tuning up their match fitness and performance.
“It will hold a lot of weight, what they do over the next month, so it was pleasing that Tendai played like he did tonight.”