McPharlin eager for Carlton challenge
Luke McPharlin wants Fremantle to honour the spirit of the Anzacs against Carlton in Friday night’s Len Hall Game at Patersons Stadium.
“It’s an opportunity to honour the memory of some great women and men and the best way we can do that is by showing great effort,” the champion defender said of the club’s annual Anzac tribute match.
Bringing great effort has been a non-negotiable theme of Fremantle’s approach to life under senior coach Ross Lyon, and McPharlin said the team did just that in last Friday night’s pulsating win over St Kilda at Etihad Stadium.
“We pride ourselves on giving great effort and I think we gave that on Friday night,” he said.
“We want to continue to do that against every side. We’ve had some pretty tough games so far this year and this Friday night against Carlton will be no different.”
The 30-year-old said the 3-1 Blues, who started the season in scintillating form, will present Freo with a massive challenge.
“You always want to test yourself against the best sides, and Carlton are flying, no doubt,” he said.
“But we have great confidence that if we can continue to give the effort that we’ve been giving, our structures will stand up.”
McPharlin usually mans up to the opposition’s best tall forward, and in Carlton’s case, that player could be Jarrad Waite, who has made a solid start to the year.
“I’ve played on Jarrad a couple of times,” McPharlin said.
“He’s a sensational player. He’s very athletic and hard working.”
But McPharlin indicated the job could also go to fellow key defender, Zac Dawson.
“With footy these days, you tend to rotate a bit on who you play,” he said.
“Between myself and Zac, we’ll hopefully get the job done.”
While Waite is focal point of the Blues’ attack, the majority of its scoring has been generated by sublimely talented small forwards Eddie Betts and Jeffrey Garlett.
“They’re both ripping small forwards with a lot of pace,” McPharlin said.
“It’s going to be tough for our defence, but doubly so, we’re going to have 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 in defence a lot easier.”
McPharlin said the Indigenous duo had to be contained, and the job on one of them on Friday night could fall to Adam McPhee, who blanketed brilliant St Kilda sharpshooter Stephen Milne last week.
“Adam’s played his best football in defence and he showed what he can do against a small forward on the weekend,” he said.
“Given what he did last Friday night I think there’s a big chance he’ll play on Betts or Garlett.
“He seems to perform well on these guys and I’m sure he’ll relish the opportunity.”
Fremantle enjoys a 14-11 overall win/loss record against the Blues, but lost the most recent encounter at Patersons Stadium by 30 points in round 21 last year when Carlton’s midfield ran rampant against an injury-ravaged home outfit.