‘Not good enough’: de Boer
Fremantle midfielder Matt de Boer has labelled his side’s last quarter fadeout against Hawthorn as simply “not good enough” as Mark Harvey’s men missed a golden opportunity to end their eight-game losing streak at the MCG.
Holding a 26-point lead when Stephen Hill kicked the first goal of the final term, the floodgates opened for the Hawks, kicking eight unanswered goals to storm home by 22 points on Sunday afternoon.
A stunned de Boer said his side would do plenty of soul-searching on the flight back to Perth as he and his teammates rue the one that slipped away.
“It’s difficult to put it down to something. The boys will review it on the plane and have some conversations during the week. It’s not good enough. Three quarters of footy isn’t a full game so we have a lot to work on,” he told fremantlefc.com.au.
“I think the boys were very hungry for the first three quarters and then took their foot off the pedal a little bit in the last quarter. That’s not good enough.”
Further compounding the loss was the chance eight-placed Fremantle had to go a game-and-a-half clear of ninth-placed Melbourne on the AFL ladder.
With Fremantle now in danger of throwing away their early season hard work, de Boer refused to blame inexperience for their last-quarter performance despite a mounting injury toll to experienced players.
“Anyone that steps into this side knows what is expected of them so I wouldn’t put it down to that,” he said.
With the likes of Aaron Sandilands, Roger Hayden, Adam McPhee, Alex Silvagni and Nick Suban all on the sidelines due to injury, Fremantle has been forced to blood youngsters.
The absence of ruckman Aaron Sandilands alone has exposed the Dockers, with Fremantle now 0-7 when the 211cm giant has missed.
“We know we are a capable team and it’s definitely not a question of fitness. It’s just about sticking to our structures and making sure the boys are having a crack the whole time,” de Boer said.
The injuries to key personnel does however have a silver lining for de Boer, with the 21-year-old looking to take a leading role in the senior side after managing 20 games last year and playing a key part in their success.
“I’m just happy to be contributing and at the moment I’m just enjoying being part of the team. We are a capable side and moving forward it will great to be a part of,” de Boer said.
The next month of football shapes as a crucial time for de Boer and his teammates if they are to play finals.
After their clash at home against Essendon on Sunday, Freo face sides currently below them on the AFL ladder, including a trip back to the MCG to take on the Demons before two home games against the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast.
“We have to get straight back on the horse. The boys will hopefully be pretty resilient from this and we’ll review the game, learn from it and load up again for next week,” he said.