WAFL Watch: Palmer back in mix
Fremantle midfielder Rhys Palmer was dropped for last Sunday’s Western Derby, with draftee Jayden Pitt preferred as the replacement for injured goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne.
But his subsequent performance for East Fremantle has him in the mix for an immediate return, against Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium, as the match committee contemplates yet more injuries.
Palmer, who had 24 possessions and kicked three goals for the Sharks, was Fremantle’s WAFL player of the round, while teammate Jon Griffin continued a strong run of form in the ruck.
“He (Palmer) released himself and did a lot of the things we require at senior level,” assistant coach Simon Lloyd said.
“His work-rate was high and his attack on the contest was where we want it, so we were really happy with the spirit in which he played. He played the game on his terms.”
While Palmer found form, first-year midfielder Viv Michie’s impressive run ended with a stress fracture in his right foot.
The 19-year-old will have his leg in a cast for the next six to eight weeks before being reassessed.
“He was tracking the right way and his form was getting better and better,” Lloyd said.
“He was putting together a consistent effort over four quarters, so he was getting closer to senior selection.”
Ahead of this week’s fixtures, Lloyd shared his WAFL notes with fremantlefc.com.au.
Peel Thunder 12.13 (85) lost to East Perth 22.13 (145)
Viv has unfortunately sustained a long-term injury at a time when he was starting to string together some really good games for Peel. He started the game against East Perth very positively, working hard to provide a leading target as a high forward. His running patterns were very good, he showed great repeat efforts and again used the ball well. We’ll make sure he’s heavily involved at the club and his footy education continues while he’s sidelined.
Peter played key back and running back, battling strongly under pressure in both roles for Peel Thunder. He showed good lateral spread and was more offensive when playing on the smalls, getting on the end of a switch kick on five or six occasions. He spoiled aggressively on the lead and followed up strongly at ground level. Overall it was a solid return game.
Dylan played as a running backman for East Perth and had a really positive second half, using his run and carry to have an impact on the game. He showed more assertiveness and was more physical after half-time and his ball-use between the arcs was impressive. Dylan’s asset is that he’s versatile – he can play as that running back and he can play as a winger.
Zac showed some encouraging signs in his first game back for East Perth, jumping aggressively at centre bounces and winning some quality hit-outs to advantage. Something we’ve been working on with Zac is his contested marking and he took some strong grabs around the ground and spread well from contests. He finished with 32 hit-outs and stepped around his opponent to kick an impressive goal in the first quarter.
Hamish played key forward and in the ruck for East Perth, kicking a clever snap goal in the first quarter from a stoppage. He took some great contested marks when he was able to get a run at the contest and he’s shown a fair amount of mobility around the ground when he’s in the ruck. He had a couple of excellent involvements in the game and now just needs to win more of the ball.
Swan Districts 11.7 (73) lost to Subiaco 18.10 (118)
Clayton has played two games back now for Swan Districts and they’ve been really positive games. He won 23 possessions playing as a running forward for the majority of the game and he’s attacking the contest hard and laying some solid tackles. He showed good leg speed to spread to space and receive and he’s been very good with his handball, creating a lot of overlap run for his teammates. Now it’s just a matter of putting a good few weeks together.
Claremont 11.14 (80) lost to East Fremantle 16.9 (105)
Byron’s working really hard at the moment and he won a lot of possessions for Claremont, finishing with 11 kicks and 17 handballs. He really lifted in the second half and started to get to more contests. He won a lot the ball in contested situations, which is a good sign, and he’s using his handball effectively.
Jon dominated the ruck again for East Fremantle, winning 45 hit-outs, and his follow-up tackling efforts at ground level were really pleasing. He’s working into really good positions at the moment but not always getting used, so we want him to start demanding the ball. Jon’s starting to go for his marks around the ground, so we also want him to keep that up.
Ben played across half-back for East Fremantle, using the ball well and spoiling with aggression. When he’s in that half-back role his handball receives need to be higher, so we want him running off a lot more to become an attacking option. He has got a really good feel for the game, so that’ll be his focus over the coming weeks, as well as his defensive positioning.
Rhys played in the midfield and worked very hard over four quarters for East Fremantle. He finished with 24 possessions and three goals, including a great front-and-centre goal in the first quarter, which was a highlight of his game. He looked very alert and on his toes around stoppages, winning a number of clearances and tackling hard in close.
Perth 13.7 (85) lost to West Perth 16.13 (109)
Casey played full back and didn’t have a great game for Perth. He’s played some really good games as a key backman, but his positioning defensively on the weekend was poor, so that’s a continuing focus. Sometimes when you’re playing on the last line you have to be more defensively minded, but his creativity and rebound has been missing, so he’ll look to get used more on the rebound this week.
Josh played half-forward for West Perth and had some great passages of play, with four or five of his inside 50s resulting in shots on goal. His execution in attack was very good, and he took a big grab in the goalsquare late in the game. His positioning around the ground is really good while playing as a high forward, now it’s about making sure he bursts into space when West Perth wins the footy.