McPharlin shoulders blame
Fremantle defender Luke McPharlin says he feels partly responsible for his team’s capitulation against Hawthorn at Patersons Stadium last Saturday night after serving the first suspension of his 184-game career.
McPharlin missed the 51-point defeat, which has left Fremantle clinging to eighth spot, after being suspended for one match following consecutive incidents against the Sydney Swans and West Coast.
The damaging home defeat was effectively sealed with six unanswered Hawthorn goals in the first quarter and McPharlin says it was a hard loss to watch.
“It was very difficult to sit back and know that I was fully fit and ready to go and unable to contribute on the field,” the 29-year-old said from Fremantle Oval on Monday.
“It was difficult to watch given the result and the way that Hawthorn really got the jump on us early. We never looked like coming back from that.
“I’m one of the team, I’m one of the 22 normally every week and to not contribute on the weekend was pretty hard to swallow.”
A positive to emerge from the defeat was key defender Alex Silvagni’s performance on Lance Franklin, with McPharlin’s understudy holding the star Hawk goalless for the first time in 33 matches.
“I’ve always known that given the opportunity to play on some of the big forwards, he’d be very competitive, and he was tremendous on Franklin,” McPharlin said of Silvagni.
“He’s very professional the way he goes about his training and preparation and he just has a super competitive edge to him. Those things combined makes for a pretty good prospect.”
McPharlin will return for Friday night’s crucial clash with St Kilda at Etihad Stadium, with Saints skipper Nick Riewoldt looming as his likely opponent.
The visitors will have to contend with consecutive six-day breaks and a mounting injury toll, with Matt de Boer (knee) and Rhys Palmer (ankle) ruled out after sustaining injuries against the Hawks.
Star ruckman Aaron Sandilands (toe) and key midfielder David Mundy (ankle) are also unlikely to return to face the seventh-placed Saints.
Fremantle has hit an incredibly tough section of its draw, facing top eight teams St Kilda, Carlton and Collingwood in the next month, as well as North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium in the run home.
“We have to win every game to cement our spot in the eight and every game’s super critical for us to win,” McPharlin said. “We take every game as being a very big challenge and a very big moment for us.
“It (Friday night) is a great opportunity for us to play on the big stage against a serious final contender. We’ll test ourselves against them.”