Buddy big job for Silvagni
Fremantle defender Alex Silvagni could take on the giant challenge of stopping Hawthorn star Lance Franklin in Saturday night’s decisive clash after Luke McPharlin was offered a one-match suspension.
McPharlin, who is in All Australian form this season, was charged on Monday with a level one striking offence for collecting Eagle Josh Kennedy high with a forearm in the last quarter of Sunday’s dramatic one-point loss to West Coast.
The offence drew a reprimand and 80 demerit points, but McPharlin had accrued 70.31 carryover points for a rough conduct charge against the Sydney Swans in round 17.
If he accepts the penalty, McPharlin will miss the clash at Patersons Stadium against his former club, making Silvagni the obvious match-up for Franklin.
Franklin leads the Coleman Medal race after kicking five goals against Melbourne on Sunday.
Fremantle utility Adam McPhee, who will play his 200th game on Saturday, backed Silvagni to stop the star Hawk after making an impressive return from injury four weeks ago against the Brisbane Lions.
“He only played half a game before he came into the senior ranks and stepped up and played on Jonathan Brown, so I’m pretty confident that he can play on Lance Franklin if that had to happen,” McPhee said from Fremantle Oval on Monday.
Silvagni held Brown goalless in the second half of Fremantle’s round 14 win over the Lions, and he was impressive when opposed to Kennedy for periods on Sunday.
Fremantle was licking its wounds on Monday after a heartbreaking loss to West Coast, and McPhee said there was a definite sense of disappointment around the club.
However, the 28-year-old said Fremantle’s fight-back from 22 points down halfway through the last quarter was a positive sign heading into the crucial game against the Hawks.
“I was really proud of the boys’ effort to come within one point,” he said. “It was probably one of the best derbies that a lot of supporters got to see and unfortunately we didn’t get over the line.
“To our credit it was a great test of mental strength to be able to come from behind. West Coast played a tremendous game as well and didn’t get as many goals on the board as they would have liked.”
McPhee, who played 142 games for Essendon between 2003 and 2009, reaches this week’s milestone during his second stint at Fremantle after playing 25 games for the club in 2001 and 2002.
He said there had been plenty of ups and down in his 11-year career, and he was proud of his ability to play 200 games.
“I think guys that have played 200-plus games have certainly been able to look back on their career and say they’ve been able to get through a lot of challenging moments,” McPhee said.
“It’s great when you’re playing your best football, but when you’re not playing your best football, that’s when it really tests your mental capacity.
“That’s probably the most pride I would take out of my career – being able to fight through those challenges as a player.”