‘We have to fight’: Harvey
Fremantle coach Mark Harvey has lamented his players’ inability to stick to team structures after a disappointing 51-point loss to Hawthorn on Saturday night saw the side’s finals chances plunge.
In difficult conditions at Patersons Stadium, Fremantle conceded the first eight goals of the game and never recovered, with Essendon and North Melbourne now pushing to replace the eighth-placed side in the finals mix.
Harvey described the morale-sapping loss as “a bad day all round” and said his team paid the price for some players not sticking to structures.
“We never moved the ball well at all and we played into their hands,” the coach said on Saturday night.
“It was Hawthorn’s pressure and our inability to be able to get out of trouble or make sure that we were balanced ahead of the play to make it more of a contest.
“Some of our players didn’t play to structure and so we all paid the penalty for that.”
Fremantle’s first goal on Saturday night came at the 24-minute mark of the second quarter, with Hawthorn holding the home side goalless in the first and third quarters to win comprehensively.
Making a bad night worse, important stopper Matt de Boer suffered medial ligament damage to his left knee and Rhys Palmer will have scans to assess the extent of an ankle injury.
The midfielder landed awkwardly in a marking contest in the third quarter and left the ground in obvious pain, heading straight to the rooms on crutches.
Ruckman Jon Griffin was a late withdrawal after failing to recover in time from an ongoing hip injury and Harvey said he was in doubt for next Friday night’s clash with St Kilda at Etihad Stadium.
“We’ll assess the whole list and see who we’ve got available, but that’s just an ongoing thing with us,” the coach said. “He (Griffin) has had it on and off throughout the course of the year and direct blows obviously inflame the area – things like kneeing in the ruck contest.
“It’s just a matter of whether he can continually jump and cover ground.”
Harvey said key clearance players Aaron Sandilands and David Mundy were unlikely to be available to face the Saints, but he denied the Friday night match was season defining.
“Every game’s a big game for everyone,” he said. “(But) there are still another four or five weeks after that.
“To win the game is important, but you’ve still got some chances beyond that.”
Fremantle faces current top-four teams Carlton and Collingwood at Patersons Stadium in its run home, as well as North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.
“We’ve just got to fight our way through the situations now and see how the opposition do at the same time,” Harvey said.
“We appear to have struck a patch in the draw where it’s delivering all these top sides. So you have to ask the AFL about that.”