We can fight off raiders: Harvey
Fremantle coach Mark Harvey has backed his club to continue warding off new franchise Greater Western Sydney in the wake of two more key player re-signings.
After securing Paul Duffield and Chris Mayne to significant deals last week, Fremantle midfielders Rhys Palmer and Ryan Crowley and utilities Michael Johnson and Kepler Bradley remain as potential uncontracted targets for the Giants.
But Harvey said the club’s recent player-retention record, particularly the long-term deals signed by stars Aaron Sandilands, Matthew Pavlich and David Mundy, would hold the club in good stead as it looked to secure its talent.
“Over the last couple of years there’s been a lot of speculation about our players leaving; that hasn’t happened,” he said.
“I’d like to think that our retention and what we’ve been doing [on-field] would hold that in good stead.
“We never got poached by the Suns. So we’ve been through one club and now we’ve got a new club of course, which is GWS. A friend of mine manages to coach it (Kevin Sheedy) … and we smoked the peace pipe many years ago.”
As well as the uncontracted group headlined by Palmer, almost half of Fremantle’s first- to fourth-year players are from interstate, presenting a future challenge.
The club’s three 2010 NAB AFL Draft selections were all Victorian, but Harvey said the re-signing of key senior players should also influence the club’s highly-rated youngsters.
“You’d like to think so. If you speak to (Michael) Barlow and those sorts of guys, they love the club firstly and then living in WA,” the coach said.
“So a lot of that’s got to do with your culture and the success of the team.
“We’re maybe around 58 per cent WA players, and the rest are from outside WA.”
While Fremantle managed to avoid losing an uncontracted player to Gold Coast last year, the club had less luck with its coaching panel.
Former assistant coach Chris Scott justified his high rating at Fremantle by winning the senior job at Geelong, while Dean Wallis returned to Melbourne for family reasons, taking up a development job with Essendon.
Dean Solomon, who had worked in the football department after retiring at the start of the 2010 season, appeared set for a development job with Fremantle but was instead appointed as an assistant coach at Gold Coast.
“It’s nearly like trying to keep hold of your players, trying to keep hold of your staff,” Harvey said. “Particularly if you have a good run and you’re doing the right things … people want to buy into it.
“I think every football club would be understanding of losing quality staff at times, and [Chris Scott] is naturally one of those. Now the challenge for him is to deliver, to be in charge of a football club. That’s the transition that he’ll have to make [but] he displays a lot of good qualities.”