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Harvey goes softly on Docker draftees

Harvey on Docker draftees

Fremantle coach Mark Harvey spoke to the West Australian newspaper yesterday about his preseason selection strategy, which will allegedly be based more around senior players than blooding youth. Then again, you can’t really trust anything the “Worst” reports about the Dockers, given their long-running anti-Freo editorial line.

The story quotes Harvey as saying that he will only play a “couple of younger players” in the NAB Cup. The story is perhaps overblown, but there’s a grain of truth there for fantasy coaches to cling to, in that the Fremantle best 22 is a work in progress.

A couple of things stand out at me from looking at the Fremantle list. The first is that Harvey has obviously gone to his recruiting officers before this draft and asked them to pick the eyes out of the WAFL, which led to the drafting of Hayden Ballantyne and Greg Broughton as mature-age players and Stephen Hill and Michael Walters among the kids. Harvey has evidently decided that if he’s going to turn over the list, he’s going to live or die by investing in local talent, something which he can’t be faulted for by the Docker fans. I like his thinking, personally.

The other is that, like Richmond and Brisbane, there seem to be a hell of a lot of middle-aged players who are all not quite good enough for the AFL but have clogged up the list for many years: Adam Campbell, Ryan Murphy, Brock O’Brien, Andrew Browne, Daniel Gilmore, Marcus Drum, Andrew Foster and of course Brett Potato, I mean Brett Peake. Some of these players can be given passes due to injury, but most just aren’t good enough to be in Freo’s best 22. Harvey made a good start to cleaning away the excesses of the Chris Connolly era by showing most of the average older players the door in the eoffseason. This year he needs to finish the job by letting these also-rans sink if they can’t swim, lest the team be weighed down by them like so many sheet anchors. That may mean more chances for the aforementioned draftees, as well as Nick Suban, Clancee Pearce and Matt DeBoer.

It was instructive to read this prediction post on Dockerland which could only find consistent game time for Ballantyne among the draftees, but I think that’s underselling Harvey’s commitment to list renewal. With the proviso that Ballantyne may not be sighted in the NAB due to his pre-Christmas wrist surgery, I am confident that he won’t be the only lucrative fantasy rookie in 2009 to turn out in purple. If there are only two or so places in the NAB reserved for draftees, it may be a vital sign for the regular season as to which of the multitude of solid prospects Harvey decides to play.

Are you as bullish on the Docker youth as I am? How many Docker rookies can you stomach in your squad of 30, especially those who are also taking the punt on Paul Hasleby or Des Headland? Is it just Ballantyne and no one else? Tell me in the comments.



  1. dylan

    January 6, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    hey monty i just read the article with harvey talking about this and he also says he might play tarrent in the middle/wing/half back. what do u think about that? i was thinking that might improve his scores a bit. but i did not see him play for freo last season so i dont no how his going. do u think his worth the risk or not?

    and for the dockers players i had hasleby in my plans until i read the training reports where his not ment to be going as well as hoped. but i defently got ballantyne in my side and will wait to see if i hear about any other young players coming up that might get a regular game for freo.

  2. m0nty

    January 6, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    No on Tarrant for me. Just a frustrating player from all angles.

  3. Team_Lactose

    January 6, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    There was alot of hoo har over Tarrent’s form over here in perth last year and correct me if im wrong but i beleive he spent some time in the Waffle. My opinion is he just hasnt enjoyed not being the centre of attention, not with Pav up there aswell stealing the lime light. I really dont think he will enjoy Ballintine coming either especially if (like we all hope) he does well, for the same reasons.

  4. Chad

    January 6, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Some other good news from the Freo front i posted today (

    Sounds great for Suban who could be the only back rookie playing in round 1.

    “Harvey, though, said he would use the pre-season matches to fine tune his squad’s fitness going into Round 1 and added that new draftees Stephen Hill and Nick Suban could have the conditioning to play against Richmond, in the club’s first NAB Cup hit-out at Subiaco on February 15.

    “Without putting too much pressure on a younger player Suban (pick 24 in the National Draft) and Hill (pick three), have a really good footballing instinct,” Harvey said.

    “Not to say the other guys (draftees) don’t, but they’re the guys that have stood out a little over the last few weeks.”

  5. Scuzzlebut

    January 7, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    I think the Dockers got their list down to 30 players before the drafts, so surely Harvey will have to play some kids early on. I really like Suban (esp after reading the post above). I have Suban, Hurley and Kite (if named in round 1) in my backline. You would think at least 1 of them will play every week.

    Ballantyne is a no brainer, and I’m keen to see how Hinkley and Foster go in the NC.

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