A disappointed Matthew Pavlich says Fremantle’s players have a searching and challenging week ahead of them as they look for answers following an 89-point loss to Melbourne.
Fremantle, which has been decimated by injury to key players this season, lost its 10th consecutive match at the MCG on Sunday, and is now hanging on to its spot in the top eight by half a game.
The Fremantle skipper refused to offer injuries as an excuse for Sunday’s performance, with key players Aaron Sandilands, David Mundy, Hayden Ballantyne and Kepler Bradley, among others, missing.
Pavlich said the club needed to maintain some perspective when assessing why it had lost five of its last seven games.
“We’re certainly very disappointed in the way we played yesterday,” Pavlich said from Fremantle Oval on Monday.
“Our fans should be disappointed and it’s going to be a searching and challenging week internally for us.
“I guess within a season there’s ebbs and flows with momentum and with players out. We’re facing a significant challenge with regards to that at the moment.
“We certainly can’t hide internally from what we’re doing poorly. But let’s also put things in perspective a little bit and try and juggle that as best we can.”
Despite its woes, Fremantle is favoured to win its next two matches against the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast (both at Patersons Stadium) before a much-needed bye.
Coach Mark Harvey said on Sunday night that star ruckman Sandilands (foot) and goalsneak Ballantyne (hamstring) would push to return for Saturday night’s clash with the Lions, but key defender Antoni Grover is likely to miss with an adductor injury.
“He (Grover) is confident it’s not a long-term injury,” Pavlich said.
“So it might be a one or two-weeker. We lose another soldier and one that’s been playing well. It’s going to be an issue for us.”
Pavlich said he had no concerns about a foot injury after being stood on against Melbourne. Meanwhile, Ryan Crowley will be assessed after back spasms ended his game.
The one positive out of Sunday’s match was the impressive return of midfielder Michael Barlow 12 months after he broke his left leg against Port Adelaide at Patersons Stadium.
The 23-year-old had 25 possessions and four clearances in a performance that suggested he could yet reproduce the stunning football that saw him burst onto the AFL stage in 2010.
“That is the positive we’ve got to look forward to,” Pavlich said.
“The light at the end of the tunnel is almost there and we’re getting there slowly.
“We’re trying to hold the fort as best we can until we get some of our better players back.
“We just have to stick strong, stick tight and stick to the plan. There’s no point changing it now.”