Freo continue to rely on too few
Fremantle coach Mark Harvey has often lamented the over-reliance his team has had on its top few performers this season, and it’s an issue that came to a head in a horrible 46-point loss to St Kilda on Saturday.
Relying on too few has been a recurring theme at Fremantle this year, with David Mundy, Aaron Sandilands, Nat Fyfe and captain Matthew Pavlich routinely among the side’s best players.
On Saturday, Fremantle had to deal with the loss of the injured Sandilands, and, perhaps as a result, Mundy, Fyfe and Pavlich weren’t at their best.
Not enough players were capable of stepping in to fill the void and Fremantle put in a performance that Harvey said was as flat as he’d seen from his group.
“We need to be better than that,” the coach said on Saturday night. “If you rely on too few players, you are either going to finish mediocre or down the bottom of the ladder.”
Defenders Luke McPharlin, Antoni Grover and Greg Broughton were the side’s best contributors, but it was in the midfield where Fremantle was left floundering.
A disappointed Broughton described the loss as unacceptable and said the players had let themselves down.
“We got beaten all over the ground,” Broughton said. “I think our hard-ball gets were 40-66 in their favour, which summed up our day.
“It’s put a dent in our season. We had a good win last week and rocking up today and showing that to our fans was unacceptable.”
Broughton agreed that Fyfe, Mundy, Pavlich and Sandilands – as well as McPharlin and forward Kepler Bradley – had been standout performers this season and they needed more help.
“We’ve got to address that and work on our games as individuals and hopefully help those guys out,” he said.
“They’ve been great for us through the whole year so far and there’s a big step from them to the rest of the group.”
Fremantle has now lost the contested possession count in five of its last six matches and Broughton said it was an area the players normally pride themselves on.
The 24-year-old started in defence, before being moved to the midfield and finally forward in the last quarter, finishing with 27 possessions and two goals.
He praised ruck recruit Jon Griffin, who worked hard and won 38 hit-outs.
“He got his hands on the ball, but we just got beaten around the ground,” Broughton said.
“We went into the game backing ‘Griff’ and the other guys going through there, but today I don’t know what happened.”