Harvey hits back
Fremantle coach Mark Harvey has hit back at claims from Terry Wallace and Chris McDermott that the Dockers lack depth in key positions.
Speaking after Fremantle lost to Adelaide by 74 points in last Saturday’s NAB Challenge match, Former Adelaide skipper McDermott said he didn’t believe Jonathan Griffin and youngster Zac Clarke were capable of carrying the ruck after Aaron Sandilands’ retirement.
And Wallace echoed those comments, saying the eventual retirements of veteran defenders Luke McPharlin and Antoni Grover would leave Fremantle with an undersized defence led by Alex Silvagni and newcomer Peter Faulks.
Wallace said this means the Dockers premiership window could conceivably close after 2012.
“It’s a concern if they’re going to try and set a standard to win a premiership in the next five years,” Wallace told the West Australian.
“When they’re ready to have an attack on a flag, they’re going to have no key-position players and that’s the difficulty.”
“It’s very difficult to get all the parts of the jigsaw puzzle together.”
Harvey, though, has refuted these claims, saying there’s plenty of potential for rejuvenation on the list after it was heavily rebuilt at the end of the 2008 season.
“Yeah, I saw that article,” Harvey said.
“I didn’t necessarily read it, I just tend to look at the pictures these days, and that’s what it was, it was a picture frame.”
“There was (comments about) McPharlin and Grover, well they’re still looking at Dustin Fletcher and he’s still playing at 35.”
“Look, list management is always an interesting facet, to be able to make sure that if you have players going in and out of your team through retirements, through moving on, that you replace them quite quickly.”
“We tend to think we’ve got a lot of our list intact for when that time comes, so I don’t think it’s an issue for us,” he said.
In some good news for the Dockers after an underwhelming pre-season, Harvey said pint-sized forward Hayden Ballantyne would play against the Bulldogs this week in Bunbury, although Stephen Hill and David Mundy would again be rested, while skipper Matthew Pavlich would also have the week off.
One of the AFL’s genuine nuisance players, Ballantyne hasn’t played since Round 22 last season, when he bravely took to the field in the must-win clash against Carlton with a suspect foot and subsequently suffered a stress fracture that kept him out of the Dockers’ two finals appearances.
“He wanted to play about two weeks ago, but you have to restrain that little boy,” Harvey joked.
“Just when you have those structural type injuries it just takes time and you have to make sure that they heal right, they don’t reoccur and with him because he’s anxious you’ve got to always pull the reins in.”
Harvey said Nathan Fyfe would also return after a somewhat interrupted pre-season while the coach said Mundy was recovering well from groin soreness. Although the club has refused to confirm this, Hill has reportedly also had groin problems throughout the summer, but appeared to be running freely at training on Thursday.