Win fitting reward for Pavlich: Harvey
Fremantle coach Mark Harvey said his side was determined to celebrate Matthew Pavlich’s record-breaking match with a win over Adelaide at AAMI Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Fremantle captain was chaired from the ground by his teammates following his club-record 239th game, and Harvey said the 25-point victory was just reward for the inspirational skipper.
“We are only a young football club, but he’s the best player the club has ever had,” Harvey said.
“Personally and from a club point of view, it was important that we went on today to win and recognised ‘Pav’ breaking the record at this football club.”
Fremantle was motivated to celebrate the occasion in style, dominating the opening quarter with five goals while restricting the Crows to just three behinds.
Adelaide struggled in the breezy and slippery conditions early in the match, while Fremantle moved the ball cleanly and outran their opponents.
“We were really well planned for this game,” said Harvey.
“It was swirly and it wasn’t easy, but I thought we played the conditions really well.”
Harvey said the result, Fremantle’s second win on the road this season, showed the increased “maturity” of his young and developing side, and will hold them in good stead as the season progresses.
“Every game is significant, especially so early in the season,” said Harvey.
“It’s important to stamp your authority early in the year as a team. The more you win early in the year, the less you have to fight your way through the season.”
A nasty eye injury to ruckman Aaron Sandilands was the only sour note for Fremantle following the victory, with Harvey forced to substitute the 211cm giant in the third quarter after he was accidentally poked in the eye by Adelaide’s Richard Tambling.
“He sets up a lot of our play around stoppages and through what he does around the ground,” Harvey said of Sandilands.
“But full credit to Kepler (Bradley) and Michael Johnson – when they had to, they really stepped up and filled that void in the ruck.”
Harvey said Sandilands will visit an eye specialist in Adelaide overnight to examine the full extent of his injury before flying back to Perth tomorrow.
Despite the result and the occasion for the club, Harvey was quick to put the focus back on the job at hand.
“It’s important now we win the next two back at home,” he said.
Fremantle host North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs at Patersons Stadium in the next fortnight before a round five bye.