Harvey ponders list overhaul
After a disastrous season that saw Fremantle miss the finals, coach Mark Harvey has flagged the possibility of wholesale list changes.
Speaking after Fremantle’s 46-point loss to the Western Bulldogs, Harvey conceded he will not shirk away from tough decisions after his side failed to emulate last year’s finals appearance.
“It’s been a long seven weeks, it would be remiss of me not to say that. What you do is you endeavour to make sure you are heading in the right direction and what it makes you realise is we probably have to reassess the situation,” Harvey said.
“So we will make some hard decisions based upon that in the coming weeks.”
Harvey hinted his side, like many others, could play an active role in trade week with the introduction of Greater Western Sydney next season.
“It’s the compromised draft and it can be a little bit more difficult than if it was an open draft. We have to take that into consideration,” he said.
“I think you will find there will be a lot of trading done because of the compromised draft.”
Despite the magnitude of Fremantle’s injury toll this season that also claimed key defender Luke McPharlin (hamstring) during Saturday’s warm-up, Harvey said it provided the opportunity for younger players to test their mettle against the competition heavyweights.
“We have been able to challenge the group and put players in different positions to see if they can handle different roles or play on better players of the opposition,” he said.
“That’s pleasing, because sometimes we can judge them at WAFL level and it can be a different outlook on the player and not necessarily conjunctive to AFL level.
“What are those games that you are giving them now going to do for that player? Are they going to understand what they need to do to make sure they understand what they need to do to become an elite player at AFL level? That’s the whole trick in the exercise.”
Whether the players blooded this season have taken that opportunity lies in the hands of Harvey and his list management team, as the coach starts planning for next season.
“The reality is we have too many depth players in our side at the moment which is not helping the situation and players are working harder than ever because of it,” Harvey said.
“I said to the players today, ‘last year you were heading in the right direction … but if you were given opportunities in the last six or seven weeks for different reasons, have you taken that opportunity?”
Harvey admitted he had difficulty assessing the performance of his side this season, especially after it lost its last seven matches by an average of 49 points.
However, the Freo mentor hopes his young side learned plenty of lessons this year and that the experience will only strengthen its resolve to tackle season 2012.
“I thought we were willing, particularly early in the year when we were up against some things,” he said.
“Then we sort of fell away … you would say that if you were going to lose seven games in a row, it probably sums it up.
“It’s one thing me taking it that way, you have to make sure your players understand and they don’t find themselves in this situation and make excuses for unavailability.”