Harvey praises bruised brigade
Fremantle coach Mark Harvey believes the 52-point victory over Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium on Saturday proves the injury curse haunting the club will not halt its charge up the AFL ladder.
Fremantle’s injury list is the longest in the AFL, however the resilient Fremantle Dockers were still too good for a struggling Power outfit who have now lost their past five matches.
“We’ve been really pushing the group, no matter who’s playing,” Harvey said after the win.
“They [the players] share the load and the responsibility, whatever position they’re put in.”
Fremantle’s injury load could become even heavier, with ruckman Aaron Sandilands coming from the ground during the third term after suffering a ‘turf toe’ injury to his left foot.
“It’s his big toe – it’s a new injury,” Harvey said.
“He’s walking around, so I’d say he’s okay but you never know.”
Sandilands has enjoyed a stellar start to the 2011 season, averaging 18 disposals and just over 38 hit-outs a game. The 211cm goliath is a crucial part of Fremantle’s midfield setup, but Harvey said the club would not risk rushing him back if significant damage is found.
“It’s an unusual injury and it’s hard to diagnose without a scan,” Harvey said.
“He’ll have a scan on Monday.”
Fremantle surged to a 31-point lead at quarter-time with a seven goal to two opening term. Skipper Matthew Pavlich and livewire Chris Mayne booted two goals apiece to give the visitors the early advantage with the aid of a strong breeze.
The margin blew out to 53 points by the major break, which the visitors then maintained comfortably throughout the second half.
Harvey said the most satisfying aspect of the result was the attacking style of play and workmanlike effort of his charges in setting up the victory during the first half.
“The confidence and the way they were creative and took the game on was pleasing,” Harvey said.
“We wanted to make sure that the opposition had to chase us a little bit more.”
And Port were certainly chasing, with a 95-possession differential between the two sides providing a damning illustration of the supremacy of Fremantle all over the ground.
Harvey singled out several of the main playmakers for Fremantle, including ex-Power player Nick Lower, who enjoyed a 28-disposal return against his former club.
“He was on a real mission, obviously against the club he had come from.” Harvey said of the hard-nosed 23-year-old.
“Particularly early, he set the scene for a lot of our guys.”
Second-year prodigy Nathan Fyfe also earned the praise of his coach, gathering a game-high 30 possessions along with two goals to continue his outstanding season.
“We played him forward a lot today, but he’s got an uncanny knack of being involved in the game for long periods of time,” Harvey said of the youngster.
Fyfe also notched up 12 contested possessions and five inside-50s to give Fremantle the edge early in the match.
“He’s turning into a special player.”
The victory solidifies Fremantle’s position inside the top eight of the ladder and will go in as favourites next week against St Kilda at Patersons Stadium.
“They won today too,” Harvey said of the Saints, who have endured a dismal start to the season.
“We tend to write off and put pressure on teams too early in this competition.
“I can tell you now that it is so tough to keep winning. Every week you come up against something different from a football club
“It is difficult to keep the momentum going.”