Positive signs for Freo: Paul Duffield
According to Paul Duffield, Fremantle’s ability to overcome the injury to its reigning club champion and hold off a late Essendon challenge was a positive to come out of Sunday’s important win.
The 26-year-old spent more time in the midfield as a result of Mundy’s injury, finishing with 22 possessions and four clearances, and said replacing the club’s leading clearance player would be a team effort.
“Certainly we had a range of players go through the midfield because of that on the weekend and I thought a lot of our guys contributed really well,” Duffield said.
“He’s our number one ball-winning midfielder, so it’s probably a responsibility that will come to myself and a couple of others to see if we can at least influence that area of the game.”
Coach Mark Harvey said on Sunday night that returning midfielder Michael Barlow would be the obvious choice to replace Mundy against Melbourne at the MCG next Sunday, but he needed to be able to play close to a full game.
In his first full game back from a broken leg, Barlow had 33 possessions and was best on ground for WAFL club Peel Thunder on Saturday, strengthening his case for an AFL recall.
The 23-year-old played a half for the Peel reserves one week ago in his first game back 11 months after suffering the horrific injury.
Duffield said there shouldn’t be pressure on Barlow to match the output of Mundy, who had averaged 26 possessions a game before being injured on Sunday.
“I think people understand that he’s been through a fairly significant injury in the scheme of things, and we’ve seen players not come back to be the players they were previous to that,” Duffield said.
“He’s done a mountain of work, he’s been super professional in the way he’s handled everything and that’s shown in the fact that he played so well in his second game back on the weekend after 12 months out.
“I don’t think there should be any spectator pressure on Micky. He’ll be clear on what his role is and he’ll go out and do that to the best of his ability.”