Price you pay: Lyon
Fremantle key defender Luke McPharlin is unlikely to play any role in his team’s finals campaign after suffering a right hamstring injury against Melbourne on Saturday night.
The important backman, who has been in All Australian form, was ruled out of next Saturday night’s elimination final against Geelong at the MCG and is in doubt beyond that.
He pulled up when changing direction early in the third quarter and was substituted immediately with coach Ross Lyon confirming the injury on Saturday night.
Lyon said McPharlin would have been a candidate to be rested against Melbourne if the club had chosen to manage players, but he had no regrets about selecting the veteran.
“You pay a price and you move on and you get going,” Lyon said after Fremantle’s 61-point win, which left it in seventh spot.
“‘Hammies’ come out of nowhere really and (sports science manager) Jason Weber and his team have done a super job … we’ve had a really good run all year.
“It’s disappointing for the players, but as football coaches and teams you’ve got to move on quickly. It’s yesterday’s news and we deal with the ones we’ve got.”
With Geelong forwards Tom Hawkins and James Podsiadly looming, Lyon said Fremantle faced an important decision on who will partner Zac Dawson in the key back posts.
Alex Silvagni (three games this season) and Antoni Grover (one) who will retire at the end of the season, are potential replacements for McPharlin.
“We’ll have to work through and look at the composition of their team and ours,” Lyon said.
“Today (Paul) Chapman’s been reported and you see the (Steve) Johnson incident. They’ll be looked at so they’ve got headaches as well.
“That’s part of finals isn’t it. Gathering everything and dealing with what’s in front of you.”
Lyon repeated that Fremantle was “happy to play anyone, anytime” and said manipulating the result on Saturday night to finish eighth was not a consideration.
Had Fremantle lost against the Demons or won by less than roughly two goals it would have faced West Coast at Patersons Stadium next weekend.
“We’re about integrity and not compromising how we go about it,” Lyon said.
“The MCG under lights against a triple premiership team, it’s a really exciting challenge for us.
“We come in in good form and we’re fit and available.”
Lyon said Fremantle was up for the challenge of having an impact from outside the top four and “past results count for nothing”.
He directed his players to play “the slowest quarter in the history of AFL footy” in the final term to make sure there were no more injuries.
“We knew we would get booed and all those sorts of things, but you’ve got to respect it’s been a long, hard season,” he said.
“We’d already lost one and we couldn’t lose the game, so we were just working the ball around, trying to slow the game down, which I thought we did quite well.
“The players were quite positive that that helped them so that should help us going forward to recover.
“They’re pretty excited. I don’t think anyone who’s sore is going to tell me.”