Passion on rise: Mayne
Fremantle forward Chris Mayne says working together like a top-four team is the challenge for his side as it prepares for Saturday’s daunting clash against ladder-leader Collingwood at the MCG.
After beating Richmond in Melbourne in round 11 and pushing Essendon for three quarters last Saturday, Mayne said he was seeing more “passion” from his teammates.
The 23-year-old said producing consistent effort like the AFL’s top four teams was the key to Fremantle (6-6) stringing wins together and climbing back up the ladder.
“[Collingwood players] work for each other, they play for each other and that’s something that we’re working on at the moment,” Mayne said on Wednesday.
“I think as a group they’re a great team, and that’s what you expect from top-four sides.
“We’re really starting to work for each other and you can see a bit more passion. We’re taking on the challenges of playing at the MCG and playing away.
“We’re starting to really come together as a side and hopefully sooner or later that’ll start to produce more wins for us.”
Mayne, who is enjoying a career-best season, has not faced Collingwood at the MCG before and said playing at the ‘home of football’ was something the Fremantle players cherished.
With the 12th-placed team’s finals chances fading, he said playing the 2010 premiers, who have won nine games in a row, was a challenge Fremantle would enjoy.
“If you want to be a top-four side, you have to beat the top teams in the competition,” Mayne said.
“With their crowd there, it’ll be roaring. Just to be able to have the opportunity to play such a great side at the MCG, I can’t wait for it.
“As a team, we’ve got a lot of confidence out of the way we performed last time there, but it’s a different week and that counts for nothing.”
Mayne has kicked an accurate 22.2 in 12 games this season, and he credited working with new forward line coachPeter Sumich and “focusing on the small things” for his spike in form.
Elevated rookie Clancee Pearce has also turned his fortunes around in 2012 after being delisted at the end of last season, playing every game and contributing as a midfielder.
With Hayden Ballantyne returning from suspension against the Magpies, and possibly Stephen Hill (ankle), Pearce said run and spread would be a key factor in matching the best midfield in the competition.
“You look at their midfield and obviously they’ve got a lot of depth,” Pearce said.
“They’re probably the best midfield in the comp.
“[The key is] probably just go with them in the centre and then spread off them. Some of their players aren’t the best spreading players.
“Hopefully we can win the ball contested. They’re probably the hardest in contested football.”