Midfield holes blamed for losses
Brownlow medallist Gerard Healy says Fremantle have a significant hole in their playing list and need to go shopping for several class midfielders at the end of the season.
The three-times All-Australian and respected AFL commentator delivered his assessment yesterday as an underdone David Mundy said he was frustrated at not being able to do more to stem the stoppage rout being experienced by the Dockers this year.
Mundy will play his 150th game against third-placed Adelaide at Patersons Stadium on Saturday with the club’s defensive game plan under coach Ross Lyon facing heavy scrutiny.
Lyon has lamented Fremantle’s ineffectiveness at stoppages following comprehensive losses to West Coast and Hawthorn.
The Dockers have had 30 fewer clearances than their opposition in those defeats. They have not won a clearance count since round five.
Healy said the lack of intensity shown in the second half of Sunday’s western derby had nothing to do with the game plan.
He said quality midfielders were needed to improve the group.
“I think at the moment we’re seeing a hole in the list that was apparent last year, but I think that the form of Mundy and probably to a lesser extent (Stephen) Hill and (Nat) Fyfe smothered up a lack of depth in that midfield,” Healy said.
“At the moment they’re playing well below their best, including (Michael) Barlow.
“It’s exposed the lack of depth because the second rotation through there is well off the mark at the moment.
“You can’t have enough midfielders. Collingwood have proven that this year. You’ve got (Dayne) Beams and (Steele) Sidebottom through maturity go from B-graders to A-graders.
“If you’ve got half a dozen A-grade midfielders, it will take you a hell of a long way.”
Healy said the club was also lacking class off half-back and suggested using Hill in defence.
Mundy conceded he was still nowhere near the fitness levels he had reached before last year’s serious ankle injury. But he said his GPS results showed he was getting closer.
“It’s definitely an area that I was strong in prior to the injury and to be hurt around the stoppages and around the midfield is a slap in the face for me and Spide (Aaron Sandilands) and the other guys in there,” Mundy said. “Obviously it’s an area that we really heavily are focusing on and trying to improve in as soon as we can.”
Teammate Paul Duffield, who will play his 100th AFL game on Saturday, said speculation the players were not enjoying their football under Lyon was unfair.
“I think it requires a lot of consistency and experience,” Duffield said. “We haven’t been practising it for a huge amount of time, but we’re working really hard at it.” DID YOU KNOW? 30 The number of fewer clearances by Fremantle in the losses to Hawthorn and West Coast.