Dockers upbeat over Farmer's future - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dockers upbeat over Farmer's future

By Justin Chadwick 15/08/2008 04:35:23 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle coach Mark Harvey has given the biggest indication yet that out-of-contract forward Jeff Farmer will be re-signed at the end of the AFL season.

Farmer, 31, has publicly stated he wants to play on in 2009 but will be fighting for his football future in the final three rounds of the home-and-away season, starting with Sunday's clash with St Kilda at Subiaco Oval.

Harvey described Farmer as an "extraordinary player" and said he saw no reason why the enigmatic goalsneak, who returns to the Dockers' line-up after serving a one-match suspension, didn't have his best football ahead of him.

"I just want to find out whether he can get better at his age," Harvey said.

"We are seeing things unfold at the moment, you are seeing Olympians at 30-plus years of age winning goals medals, I'm not sure why our game is any different.

"I want to talk to him about whether he thinks he can get better from here on end.

"James Hird won a best and fairest at 34, and I think (Shane) Crawford and Matthew Richardson and these sorts of guys are having great seasons at their age and they are two or three years older than him.

"It comes down to pride, preparation, fitness, discipline - all that."

But Farmer's fate will be decided with more than just his on-field exploits in mind.

The 246-game veteran has been dogged by on-and-off-field controversies throughout his career.

Just last year, Farmer missed the opening 12 rounds of the season due to an eye-gouge charge and a nightclub scuffle.

Although Farmer has been better behaved this year, he hasn't remained trouble-free.

He was suspended by the club in round 14 for missing a recovery session and two weeks ago copped a one-match ban by the AFL match review panel for his hit on West Coast's Mark Nicoski.

Fremantle have suffered a spate of retirements this season, with Peter Bell, 32, Shaun McManus, 32, Heath Black, 29, and Matthew Carr, 29 all hanging up their boots.

But although Harvey said that loss of experience wouldn't necessarily count in Farmer's favour for a new contract, the coach said the former Demon's on-field heroics shouldn't be underestimated.

"They are very hard to find the types of players like Jeff," Harvey said.

"I don't want to make a premature decision on him.

"The 'Wizard' is an extraordinary player because he knows how to play the game like not many other players do know how to play the game."

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