Freo’s midfield reunion
But with today’s inclusion of 2010 Doig Medallist David Mundy, the vaunted on-ball combination will be reunited this Saturday night against North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium in a must-win match for both teams.
Adam McPhee also returns after serving a one-week suspension, along with midfielder Rhys Palmer and first-year player Jayden Pitt.
Paul Duffield, Clancee Pearce, Peter Faulks and Nick Lower are the players out of the side, all omitted.
Mundy has not played since he injured his leg in the early minutes of the round 12 clash with Essendon at Patersons Stadium.
His presence to a Fremantle midfield that has won the clearance count just twice in its last 10 games, including a 43-25 stoppage count loss to Carlton last week, will be important.
Mundy’s partnership with Sandilands was the second-most successful ruck/rover combination for effective hitouts in the AFL last season.
Fremantle coach Mark Harvey agreed that the stoppages would be crucial to the result of Saturday night’s match, which will be Antoni Grover’s 200th AFL game.
He said Sandilands pulled up well after last week’s game against Carlton, the ruck champion’s first game since round 14 and only his second since round 9.
“He kicked a couple of goals and took a couple of marks, and he started dominating the hitouts,” Harvey said.
“Some of his timing was out, naturally, but apart from that he was fine.”
Harvey said facing in-form Kangaroos’ big man Todd Goldstein would be a challenge for Sandilands, but one that the Freo ruck star would have good cover in.
“We’ve got Zac Clarke there who’ll be in and around those areas, too” he said.
Harvey said the club’s injury issues this year had forced Freo to put players on the ball who were not well-versed with Sandilands’ signals at the stoppages.
While the A-team will be back this week, the Freo coach said he would still mix his midfield structures up.
“It’ll be a bit of both,” he said.
Fremantle has never defeated the Kangaroos at Etihad Stadium, losing all three contests at the ground.