Archive for April, 2011
Impressive Fremantle youngster Nat Fyfe says adding five kilos of muscle to his light frame over the summer has helped him have a big influence in Fremantle’s 4-1 start to the season.
Fyfe, who played 18 games in a solid debut season in 2010, has taken a giant step this year, averaging 27 possessions a match and kicking four goals playing predominantly as a midfielder.
The 19-year-old was one of Fremantle’s standout runners in pre-season training and completed extra weights sessions during his time off, with the results now showing.
“It definitely helps me out on the field having a bit more muscle, just being able to stand up a little bit better in tackles and provide a bit better contest in the air as well,” Fyfe said on Friday.
“I was able to get a full pre-season in and a lot more running and weights this year.
“Our fitness and strength and conditioning guys do a great job, as you can see with a lot of us younger, lighter-framed guys coming through.”
Fremantle ruckman Zac Clarke will remain at East Perth after the Dockers were persuaded that his best interests were to stay under the tutelage of veteran WAFL coach Tony Micale.
Clarke will lead the Royals ruck against East Fremantle tomorrow in the absence of injured big man Zac Beeck and is set to be given greater opportunities on the ball.
Describing the matter as “a storm in a teacup”, an East Perth official said the AFL club was happy with the way the Royals intended to manage the third-year Docker.
Fremantle were concerned that Clarke was being denied time on the ball and withdrew him from the East Perth team that took on Subiaco on Good Friday.
Clarke had produced just 23 hit-outs in his two WAFL matches, compared to Beeck who had 79 hit-outs in the same two games.
The new broadcast agreement struck between the AFL and the Seven Network, Foxtel and Telstra to broadcast AFL matches for the next five years will see an unprecedented amount of live football shown to more parts of Australia, across more platforms than at any time in the game’s history.
As part of the new agreement, supporters in Western Australia are guaranteed of being able to see all of Fremantle’s matches on free to air television.
The Seven Network will broadcast four matches of each nine-match round during the Toyota AFL Premiership Season on free to air television, as well as all finals matches.
On free to air television, Friday night football will be telecast live into Victoria, Qld, NSW, the ACT and Tasmania, near live into SA and on a reduced delay, due to time zone difference, into WA. Showpiece matches on both Friday night and Saturday night would now be shown live or near live across most regions of Australia.
It’s never been more hip to ride a bike.
Mulga Bill got the ball rolling (or the wheels, as it were), and Nicole Kidman rode hers with curly red hair flaming up the small screen. These days, if you’re in the Elwood area, you can’t miss local dilettante Tim Rogers’ familiar silhouette pedalling by.
This in-depth history of bicycling takes me back to the off-season this past year, when I was in Paris, the city of love. Oh yes, I’ve travelled darling.
What could be more French than taking a bike ride along the Seine River with a brie cheese baguette in my basket, winding along the cobblestones toward the Eiffel Tower, past the seemingly endless parade of chic Parisians?
Because of a finals campaign last year that comprised a ho-hum win at home over a hobbled Hawthorn and a meek surrender to Geelong at the MCG the following week and because – well, it is Fremantle after all – there was one team generally regarded as being susceptible to a tumble from the top eight in 2011.
This column had Freo in the eight, but only just, at the start of the season. Now we are reconsidering that on the back of a win over the Western Bulldogs on Monday night which, while hard to watch at times given the skill errors and the turnovers, was edge-of-your-seat stuff for the entire final quarter.
In the space of 30 pulsating minutes, Fremantle had the game won, then lost, then won again, to suggest that the dire pre-season prognostications might have been a touch premature.
And the heroes in purple were two of the more unlikely you would expect to find. Jay van Berlo, the until now unheralded younger brother of Adelaide skipper Nathan, kicked four goals, while the oft-maligned Kepler Bradley also kicked four and dazzled the 37,000 fans at Patersons Stadium with some rarely seen skills and athleticism.
Fremantle’s quest to host the AFL’s official Anzac Day night game each year is set to intensify with the club investigating ways to still play its Len Hall fixture after Essendon and Collingwood next season, even though it falls on a Wednesday.
The Dockers have played on Anzac Day for the last four years and organised pre-match Anzac tributes every year since 1996.
Monday night’s ceremony commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Siege of Tobruk, the Battle of Crete and the sinking of the HMAS Sydney.
A Wednesday night game raises a series of issues for the club, notably how to handle a short break from the previous week if it has to travel.
But Fremantle chief executive Steve Rosich said the club was keen to look at ways it could maintain its position as an Anzac Day club.
“The club is proud of the Len Hall game tradition and has enjoyed playing football on Anzac Day for the last four years,” Rosich said.
Fremantle Dockers stars Rhys Palmer and Antoni Grover were in Midland last week to check out their avatars as the new AFL Live video game was launched at EB Games.
The Midland Gate shopping centre store recorded the most orders in Australia for the game ahead of the launch, according to store manager Glenn Taylor.
The game, which was launched in PlayStation 3 and Xbox formats on Thursday, is the first new version of the AFL game in four years and was created by Melbourne company Big Ant Studios.
Mr Taylor said the creators had put a lot of work into the game.
“It is by far the best AFL game made so far,” he said.
“All players in the competition have been modelled, all the sponsors are in there.”
Versions for Wii and PCs will be out in coming weeks.
If an Anzac Medal had been awarded at the end of Fremantle’s thrilling seven-point win over the Western Bulldogs on Monday night, Luke McPharlin’s merits would have been seriously debated after keeping Barry Hall goalless.
While Bulldogs captain Matthew Boyd (45 possessions) was a clear best on ground in the Len Hall Game, Fremantle surely could not have snatched the important win without McPharlin’s tireless defensive efforts.
The 29-year-old dominated the aerial battles with Hall, restricting him to two marks and five disposals, while winning 19 possessions himself.
And while he chipped away at the visitors’ spirit with every spoil, he lifted Fremantle with a courageous effort running back with the flight of the ball in the third quarter.
It was an effort noted by coach Mark Harvey at three quarter-time and Fremantle clearly responded, emerging from the last break to kick three straight goals and build a 20-point lead.
Fremantle coach Mark Harvey says his side is not yet ready to claim the title of Collingwood’s main premiership challenger following a thrilling Anzac Day win over the Western Bulldogs at Patersons Stadium.
Fremantle, which heads into its first bye for the season with a 4-1 record, responded to a spirited Bulldogs’ challenge on Monday night to win by seven points.
But despite holding onto a top-four spot ahead of clashes with Richmond, Port Adelaide and West Coast, Harvey said it was premature to declare Fremantle a frontline title challenger.
“We’re not there yet. We’re sort of aiming and working hard towards it, but we don’t play Collingwood until later in the year anyhow,” the coach said on Monday night.
“We just need to keep progressing with what we’re confronted with.
“There’ll be sides we play over the coming weeks that everyone will expect us to win (but) we understand that we have to make sure that we’re diligent with what we do with our planning and the way we play.”
Fremantle 2.4 6.7 7.9 12.13 (85)
Western Bulldogs 2.3 6.7 7.8 11.12 (78)
Fremantle: Bradley 4, van Berlo 4, Mundy 2, McPhee, Lower
Western Bulldogs: Sherman 4, Griffen 2, Grant 2, Gilbee, Hill, Higgins
Fremantle: Mundy, Bradley, McPharlin, van Berlo, Sandilands, Duffield, Ibbotson
Western Bulldogs: Boyd, Sherman, Higgins, Picken, Griffen, Murphy, Ward
Fremantle: Greg Broughton (back) replaced in selected side by Jesse Crichton
Western Bulldogs: Nil
Fremantle: Jesse Crichton replaced by Jayden Pitt at three quarter-time
Western Bulldogs: Tom Williams (back spasms) replaced by Mitch Wallis at three quarter-time
Reports: Jordan Roughead (WB) for charging Luke McPharlin (Fre) in the third quarter
Umpires: McBurney, Nicholls, Mollison
Official crowd: 37,551 at Patersons Stadium