Freo's Farmer 'too good to discard' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Freo's Farmer 'too good to discard'

By Justin Chadwick 25/08/2008 06:13:51 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle defender Roger Hayden has leapt to the defence of besieged AFL teammate Jeff Farmer after the forward came under fire for yet another on-field misdemeanour.

Farmer, who is out of contract at season's end, gave away a needless off-the-ball free kick and 50m penalty during an important stage of Fremantle's seven-point loss to Richmond last Saturday.

The 31-year-old was initially penalised for pushing his knee against Shane Edwards' head and was then slapped with a 50m penalty for mouthing off at the umpire, gifting the Tigers a goal that swung momentum Richmond's way.

The incident was assessed by the AFL match review panel but no charge was laid.

Hayden defended the incident, saying it had been blown out of proportion because Farmer was the man involved.

"I had a look at it and it didn't look like much," Hayden said.

"I think it (the scrutiny) is just because it's Jeff Farmer.

"He does something small and it gets magnified. You get that sort of thing."

Five Dockers have already announced their retirement this season and Hayden said it was vital to retain a man of Farmer's experience.

"You need players at a club to guide the younger guys," Hayden said.

"Jeff's been around for a while and played in big games, grand finals, and some of the younger guys look up to him just the way he performs.

"The way he's been playing the last few weeks, given the role around the midfield and creating for our team, has been a positive and if he thinks he can play on next year then by all means."

The 248-game veteran has endured a rather forgettable season, booting just 20 goals in 19 matches.

Meanwhile, Fremantle football operations manager Robert Shaw has advised the AFL club he is returning home to Melbourne for family reasons.

Shaw, a father of four, joined Fremantle from Essendon at the end of 2005 but said the time had come to return home to spend more time with family.

"It's been a great challenge working at Fremantle and I'm very optimistic about the future of the Fremantle Football Club," Shaw said.

"I'm intensely proud of my contribution to Fremantle and the role that I have played in its growth."

Shaw's announcement follows the mid-season departure of Cameron Schwab, who took up the post of chief executive at Melbourne despite previously stating he was not interested in the role.

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