Freo looks to trade week
Fremantle coach Mark Harvey believes the club’s best method of advancing its list at the end of this season could be through trade week, as it prepares for a detailed review following Saturday’s clash with the Western Bulldogs.
With this year’s NAB AFL Draft compromised by Greater Western Sydney’s concessions, Harvey said it would be difficult for Fremantle to overhaul its list with new talent, similar to the approach it took at the end of 2008.
There is also a perception that 2012 presents Fremantle’s best chance of achieving success, with captain Matthew Pavlich and key defender Luke McPharlin starting next year aged 30, and star ruckman Aaron Sandilands turning 29 this December.
Harvey said earlier this week that the club would be fearless at the trade table in October, and he reiterated that position on Wednesday, saying there was a distinct possibility that trading would be a “more strategic” approach for his club than drafting.
“It’s very hard in a compromised draft when it’s so dominated by GWS and for that matter even previous draft picks that clubs have got from last year,” Harvey said from Fremantle Oval on Wednesday.
“I think every club is in the same dilemma with the one we’ve just been through and the one we’re about to go through so it’s hard to make a lot of [changes], particularly with not a lot of depth in the draft.”
Fremantle’s drafting and trading strategy will become clearer next week, Harvey said, when a decision is made on the future of midfielder Rhys Palmer, who has been linked to GWS.
“You guys would hear as many stories about it as we would, so I guess when we finish on the weekend probably Rhys would come up and have a chat,” Harvey said. “That will happen pretty much next week.”
Fremantle’s leading goalkicker this year has been Chris Mayne (25), suggesting the club will need to address its forward line woes in the off-season. Brisbane Lions key position player Mitch Clark has been linked to the club.
Harvey also indicated that Fremantle would look to add to its backline after struggling to contain opposition small forwards this season.
Changes to Fremantle’s coaching panel are also expected, with former captain Peter Bell linked to the club, and Harvey said it was possible he would chase a senior assistant.
“We’ve lost some experience in the last couple of years, so a lot of the coaches that we’ve had come into the coaching staff have been involved in the system but not necessarily at the experienced line coaching level,” he said.
“I would have thought [we need] more experience in the line coaching area, but that doesn’t discount a coach that has done it at [senior] level.
“You’ll see next week that the club, after our reviews, we’ll put out a few things and comments about either players or coaches.”
Ahead of its main training session on Wednesday night, Harvey said Fremantle had 24 players available to select against the Western Bulldogs.
The club is appealing a one-match ban handed to Ben Bucovaz in the WAFL in an effort to make him available, with Antoni Grover, Alex Silvagni and Jayden Pitt expected to return.
Justin Bollenhagen (ankle) and Joel Houghton (calf) will be assessed on Wednesday night and Harvey said the club could need to seek special clearance from the AFL to select a rookie.
“My understanding is that if it gets this drastic then sometimes there might be a compromise with that decision,” the coach said, with rookies Casey Sibosado and Hamish Shepheard available.