Harvey laments “flat” Freo
Fremantle coach Mark Harvey says his players were the flattest he’s seen them during a shocking 46-point loss to St Kilda at Patersons Stadium on Saturday.
Fremantle, which has now lost three of its last four matches, risks falling out of the top eight at the completion of round 10, having sat in the top four a month ago.
Harvey said his players were beaten physically by the resurgent Saints and didn’t follow instructions.
“We planned for everything that St Kilda do but unfortunately our players, for various reasons, didn’t follow instructions,” Harvey said on Saturday night.
“Firstly, we got beat physically I thought, whether it be hard ball or getting stripped or not being clean in close.
“Secondly, we got found out with some easy goals. They only took nine marks inside the forward 50 but I reckon they had four or five goals that were open running goals where they got us over the back.
“It was as flat as I’ve seen our players and I’m trying to come to terms with why. That’s something we need to monitor and make sure we don’t have our players in that state.”
Saturday’s loss was the injury-hit side’s sixth straight defeat without Aaron Sandilands since 2008, with the star ruckman still three matches away from returning from a toe injury.
Harvey said Adelaide recruit Jon Griffin, who finished with 38 hit-outs and 12 possessions in an even battle with Saint Ben McEvoy, was competitive.
Midfielders David Mundy, Nat Fyfe and Matthew Pavlich struggled to have their usual impact, but Harvey said the extent of the loss was not down to Sandilands’ absence.
“When you look at centre square clearances you work out how and who, and sometimes it wasn’t just the guys in the centre square itself, it was the guys coming off the wing,” Harvey said.
“I don’t think [missing] Sandilands has anything to do with it – when you need to be clean you have to be clean with the ball.
“[Griffin] tried hard. I thought he was competitive and I thought he tried to the best of his ability. He wasn’t the issue.”
Fremantle still has the longest injury list in the AFL, but Harvey warned there would be consequences at the selection table ahead of next week’s clash with Hawthorn at the MCG.
“Zac [Clarke] is playing up in Darwin, Clayton Hinkley’s back, Clancee Pearce was a late withdrawal today, but he’ll probably be okay for next week,” Harvey said.
“[Ben] Bucovaz is playing okay in the WAFL, [Jayden] Pitt, those sort of guys.”
Harvey said Fyfe, who had his left shoulder re-strapped during the game, was cleared of injury, although the shoulder “slips out” occasionally.
Forward Kepler Bradley was also cleared of damage to his ribs.