Archive for August, 2012
It’s fitting that tomorrow night at Patersons Stadium, on the eve of Father’s Day, Tom Sheridan will finally realise a dream that has been on hold in his family for 35 years.
In 1977, Tom’s dad Bryan was a promising teenager trying to break into Essendon’s VFL side via the reserves.
But on a fateful Brownlow Medal night that year, his dream was cruelly shattered when he was a passenger in a car that crashed into a light pole.
Bryan Sheridan’s injuries meant he had to give up footy or risk being crippled later in life.
“He wasn’t able to pursue his dream of playing footy and he never played a senior game,” Tom said.
“It’s always been in the back of my head.”
After finding out he’d be running out with Fremantle to play Melbourne on Saturday, the first person Tom called was his dad.
“He’s pretty proud that I’m going to achieve that this weekend,” Tom said.
It’s Sunday night in the Virgin lounge at Melbourne airport.
Fremantle has just thrashed North Melbourne to qualify for the finals and most of the victorious players are hanging together in groups.
One player, however, has wandered off on his own to the other end of the lounge, where he is engaged in a conversation with an Adelaide Crows supporter. Seeing a racehorse screensaver on his fellow traveller’s laptop, the player asks whether his new acquaintance is involved in the racing industry and, when the answer comes back “yes”, is eager to ask about life in and around the sport of kings.
Matt de Boer is out with an ankle injury, while Zac Clarke has been omitted.
Freo assistant Simon Lloyd said he expected de Boer to be available for the club’s first final the following weekend.
“Matty will be no worries at all,” he said.
“He was touch and go to come in this week but he should be right next week.”
Lloyd said Sheridan, the club’s top pick from the 2011 National Draft, would acquit himself well after some solid WAFL form had helped earn him a crack at AFL level.
Suggestions from opposition clubs that Fremantle is the hardest team to play against this season is proof the side is heading in the right direction under Ross Lyon, according to defender Garrick Ibbotson.
Fremantle is ranked No.2 for scores against this season (behind the Sydney Swans), and North Melbourne forward Drew Petrie said Freo was the toughest team he’d faced following the Kangaroos’ 53-point loss on Sunday.
Ibbotson, who will play his 100th game this Saturday night against Melbourne at Patersons Stadium, said comments like Petrie’s reinforced Fremantle was on track as it prepares for finals.
“To have someone like that say something like that about us really shows that we’re moving in the right direction,” Ibbotson said on Wednesday.
“That’s something we want to make sure we can continue and obviously build on.
Sydney premiership player Brett Kirk will join the Fremantle Dockers as an assistant coach for the 2013 season.
Kirk worked with Fremantle senior coach Ross Lyon and stoppages coach Mark Stone when both were at the Swans.
Widely regarded as one of the most courageous and resilient players to have ever pulled on the boots, he played 241 games for Sydney since making his debut in 1999, including the last 200 without missing a match.
Co-captain of the Swans from 2005-2010, Kirk is a highly decorated and respected figure, whose list of achievements include a 2005 AFL Premiership win, All-Australian selection in 2004 and Sydney best and fairest in 2005 and 2007.
In 2011, he spent six months travelling the world and spreading the word about football as the AFL’s International Ambassador.
Kirk said a two year stint out of football helped him rediscover his passion for the competitive side of the game.
A breakaway competition involving reserve teams from West Coast, Fremantle, Adelaide and Port Adelaide could be launched as early as next season, with the West Australian and South Australian AFL clubs losing patience in their battle to field stand-alone teams.
Frustrated after years of players being mismanaged as they are forced to field footballers across various SANFL and WAFL clubs, the four AFL teams have demanded assistance from the AFL in taking on the two state football commissions.
Fremantle chief executive Steve Rosich did not rule out withdrawing the Dockers’ second-tier players and placing a stand-alone Fremantle team in an amateur competition next season, while Adelaide boss Steven Trigg said the Crows had considered joining the VFL.
West Coast chief Trevor Nisbett said the Eagles, like the Dockers, would no longer tolerate the increasing difficulties in drafting and retaining players from other states caused by the predicament they face in having to play those players across nine different WAFL clubs.
Fremantle veteran Antoni Grover will retire at the conclusion of the 2012 season, ending what has so far been an outstanding 202-game AFL career spanning 13 years.
The 32-year-old informed the playing group of his decision in a team meeting today.
A life member at Fremantle, he made his name as one of the toughest and most uncompromising defenders in the game, playing alongside the likes of Luke McPharlin and Shane Parker during his career.
Grover made his debut in round 21, 1999 against Sydney at the WACA, making him the longest serving player on the club’s 2012 playing list and the only one to have debuted in the 90s.
He played in the club’s first AFL final against Essendon at Subiaco Oval in 2003 and reached the 200-game milestone against North Melbourne in round 22 last season.
Grover said it was a decision he knew had been coming for a while.
Ross Lyon has defended Fremantle’s management of Kepler Bradley and Adam McPhee after the pair received heavy head knocks during last Sunday’s win over North Melbourne.
Bradley and McPhee both returned to the field after being assessed by club doctors following nasty collisions in the first and third quarters respectively.
The Dockers made the decision to substitute Bradley out of the game in the second quarter after he copped another series of hard blows and later vomited.
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has issued a stern message to fans constantly criticising defender Zac Dawson – back off.
Dawson has been a whipping boy for the Dockers faithful since he arrived at the club, with calls for him to be axed for Alex Silvagni.
It is a situation remarkably similar to the former Hawk’s first season at St Kilda when supporters wanted him replaced by beloved veteran Max Hudghton.
Lachie Hansen’s three goals for North Melbourne on Sunday were used to target Dawson yesterday.
But Lyon said it was ridiculous that Dawson, who had been an integral part of the back line all year, continued to attract criticism.
“There’s some people who live in a fool’s paradise,” Lyon told 6PR.
“He defended terrific on the weekend. He’s had one bad game – his second up (from injury in round 20) I think.
Fremantle’s Matthew Pavlich remains a slender Coleman Medal favourite, despite doubts over his fitness ahead of this week’s final round clash with Melbourne.
Pavlich was a late withdrawal from Sunday’s 53-point win over North Melbourne, missing the chance to add to his tally of 60 goals.
Tiger Jack Riewoldt’s three goals against Essendon on Friday night moved him to within one of the Fremantle skipper, and Tom Hawkins’ four for Geelong against the Western Bulldogs took him to 58.
After the win, Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said he aimed to have Pavlich back to face the Demons, but couldn’t give a guarantee.
TAB Sportsbet has Pavlich a $2.50 chance to claim the goalkicking crown, from Riewoldt ($3) and Hawkins ($3.50).
Lance Franklin and Drew Petrie, both with 55 goals, are seen as longshots at $15.