Turnovers costly: Ballantyne
Fremantle forward Hayden Ballantyne has lamented his team’s shoddy ball use against Carlton on Saturday, saying the team needs to “learn how to kick the ball” before it can improve.
Ballantyne, who spent long periods in the midfield at Patersons Stadium, said he felt like he had let his team down with his ball-use, but he was not alone in wasting opportunities against the clinical Blues.
Coach Mark Harvey said polish and class were the differences between the sides on Saturday and Ballantyne agreed, saying skill execution had let the home team down.
“I’m a little bit disappointed. They hit their targets all day and they just punished us when we turned it over,” he said.
“Today was a big disappointment. We were in it for a long time and skills let us down. We did have a crack and we did try, it was just the little things that killed us.
“Learn how to kick the ball, that’s the big thing, personally for me anyway. The execution in that second and third quarters was just terrible and I feel like I’ve let the team down.
“Around the ground they hit the targets all day and we didn’t.”
Ballantyne finished Saturday’s loss, which has effectively ended Fremantle’s finals chances, with 23 disposals, eight inside 50s and 2.4, pushing into the midfield to add leg speed to an often stagnant on-ball division.
Harvey experimented with his line-up on Saturday, with defenders Luke McPharlin and Alex Silvagni also spending time forward with Fremantle struggling to take marks inside 50.
Forward Chris Mayne was used in the midfield, running with Carlton skipper Chris Judd for the best part of three quarters.
“You change players’ positions forward and back because you’re trying to look for something to perhaps give you the edge if you’ve had no stability in your line-ups,” the coach said.
“We need quicker players in our team, there’s no question.
“[Ballantyne] and Mayne have been predominantly in our forward line and we’ve introduced them into the midfield over the last couple of weeks.
“I think they’re getting a good idea of what an elite midfielder is and how hard it is to play there. Hopefully that holds them in good stead but we’re being forced to do that too.”
Harvey praised Ballantyne’s contribution on Saturday, but said there were occasions when the 24-year-old rushed his disposal.
His right foot snap late in the second quarter drew Fremantle to within 20 points, but that is as close as the home side would be for the rest of the day, with Carlton midfielders Judd, Marc Murphy and Bryce Gibbs handing Fremantle a lesson.