Riewoldt not sole focus: Harvey
Richmond’s use of spearhead Jack Riewoldt and its search for a spread of goalkickers has been a point of interest in the Fremantle camp this week, coach Mark Harvey says.
Fremantle, which travels to face the Tigers at the MCG this Saturday, has taken note of the Tigers intention not to rely too heavily on last year’s Coleman Medallist, who again leads the competition after six games with 21 goals.
Richmond coach Damien Hardwick said pre-season that he wanted Riewoldt to kick fewer goals this season, and the side couldn’t afford to have its spearhead kicking 78 goals a year.
“If you rely on one player, you are not going to make it through a successful finals campaign,” Hardwick said in March.
Harvey, who has in-form key defenders Luke McPharlin and Antoni Grover primed for the match-up, said Richmond had appeared to grapple with how to best use Riewoldt this season.
“It’s interesting when you listen to Damien [Hardwick] speak sometimes, it doesn’t always necessarily look like he wants him (Riewoldt) down there being the prominent full forward,” Harvey said from Fremantle Oval on Wednesday.
“I guess they grapple with that all the time. But we’ve certainly studied Jack and the way he plays and the entry inside their forward 50.
“Two weeks ago they had him running off the wing early in the game like Buddy Franklin…that’s our observation.”
Riewoldt has booted 14 goals in his last three matches, but Harvey said Fremantle also had to be wary of a rapidly developing midfield that includes second-year star Dustin Martin.
“They’ve got some good, young midfielders coming through. Even [Nathan] Foley’s starting to get somewhere back to his best as well,” the coach said.
“They haven’t got a lot of injuries at the moment and they’re running into some good form and they shouldn’t be underestimated by anyone that plays them.
“When you’ve got a midfield and a king pin down there it’s adding up to them being a lot better team.”
Fremantle’s own forward line is functioning well and finding a spread of goalkickers without captain Matthew Pavlich, who has played predominantly as a midfielder this season.
Kepler Bradley (11 goals), Chris Mayne (eight) and Hayden Ballantyne (seven) are the club’s top three goalkickers this season.
“I had a look at total shots and goals and I mean it’s an awkward rank at the moment because some teams have had a bye, some haven’t,” Harvey said.
“But I think we’re ranked about fourth for shots on goal. Naturally we have to get our accuracy right.”
Fremantle will be out to break a seven-game losing streak at the MCG this Saturday, with the club winning just once in seven clashes against Richmond at the venue.
Harvey, who said coming off the bye was a positive for his side, was not concerned by the club’s poor record at the MCG.
“It’s quite fascinating, quite regularly this year I’ve read wherever we’ve played it’s been a hoodoo or we haven’t won the last six games we’ve played an opposition team,” the coach said.
“Well, we’re breaking down those barriers quicker than the articles are being written, so our guys are looking forward to playing at the MCG, particularly early in the season.
“It (the bye) should be a positive for our group, that’s how I see it. I don’t see it any other way and I don’t compare it necessarily to other teams.
“I guess the beauty about not playing on the weekend is many things, and Richmond have to go back and have a look at a couple of weeks ago.”
Defender Greg Broughton, who missed the Anzac Day clash with the Western Bulldogs with a back-related hamstring injury, is expected to return this week.