Fremantle’s Adam McPhee backed for defensive role on key Carlton duo
After keeping St Kilda goalsneak Stephen Milne quiet, Fremantle defender Adam McPhee is steeling himself for another big task against Carlton on Friday night.
McPhee was one of the Dockers’ best in last Friday’s 13-point win over St Kilda, restricting Milne to just nine possessions and one goal while collecting 20 disposals himself.
But an even bigger challenge looms this week for 29-year-old McPhee, who is in line to get the job on Carlton dangerman Eddie Betts.
Betts has booted 13 goals from four games this season to take an equal lead in the Coleman Medal race, while fellow goalsneak Jeff Garlett has chipped in with eight goals to provide Carlton with a dangerous pint-sized pairing up front.
Dockers defender Luke McPharlin said McPhee was looking forward to a battle with either Betts or Garlett.
“He seems to perform well on those guys and I’m sure he’ll relish that opportunity,” McPharlin said.
“He’s a very aggressive player and likes to get in there and get dirty.
“He’s been good for us in defence.
“(Betts and Garlett) are both ripping small forwards with a lot of pace.
“It’s going to be tough for our defence.
“We need to have great pressure up the field. If we can chop off a lot of entries coming in, it’s going to make our job easier.”
Blues midfielder Andrew Carrazzo is set to miss around six weeks with a shoulder injury, while defender Jeremy Laidler might also miss the match against Fremantle due to a knee complaint.
Carlton were given a major reality check in Saturday’s 30-point defeat to Essendon, and will be looking to make amends when they tackle the sixth-placed Dockers, who also have a 3-1 record.
Fremantle is set to be bolstered by the return of star midfielder Nat Fyfe, who was kept out of the Saints match to further strengthen his troublesome left shoulder.
McPharlin described the Dockers’ win over St Kilda as a historic triumph for the club, but said it would mean little if they didn’t follow it up with more away wins this season.
“The away wins are crucial. We just can’t be a great team at home,” McPharlin said.
“Given all the big games are played in Melbourne, we need to win big games over there and on the big stage.
“Friday night was a good confidence booster for us, but the job’s certainly not done.”