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Dockers lacking creative spark: Harvey

By Chris Pike 20/05/2009 04:11:59 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle coach Mark Harvey is looking for something special from his players to overcome a poor Docklands record against North Melbourne on Saturday.

While the Dockers continue to show much better form since losing the opening four games of the AFL season, Harvey felt his team's loss against Hawthorn last Friday was down to not having players capable of special acts.

In the past the Dockers could rely on magicians such as Jeff Farmer, Paul Medhurst and Clive Waterhouse, but the current Fremantle line-up doesn't have a player with that capability.

Harvey had hoped last year's WAFL Sandover Medal winner Hayden Ballantyne could replace Farmer as the team's X-factor, but he is yet to play at any level this season because of a wrist injury.

Youngster Stephen Hill has shown the ability to do special things, while the return of Des Headland could provide that spark.

"We just need a player or two that can do the miraculous thing or kick the miraculous goal that we need either to get on top or back into the game quicker," Harvey said.

"It's the creativeness of the player at that point in time and what he feels is required. The creativeness in guys evolves as they gain experience and maybe we are lacking that from a team at the moment, and are relying on our top four or five too much in that area of our game.

"That's what we need to beat the top sides and you need to take the opportunities when you get them. They are hard to find, though, and Ballantyne is still a week or two off playing. We need that different angle at the moment."

Fremantle has won just seven from 27 games at Etihad Stadium and while Harvey does accept it's a harder ground to adjust to for visiting teams, it's no excuse to not perform well.

"You can use all sorts of analogies like graveyard and those things, but we have a younger group who might have only played one or two games there. I don't see it as a problem," he said.

"It's an interesting venue for interstate clubs because we don't play in that environment, so you do find that with teams who use that as their home ground that they specialise there. We have to come up with a couple of different solutions to win at the ground."

North Melbourne and Fremantle both sit near the bottom of the ladder with 3-5 records and Harvey knows 'Roos coach Dean Laidley will have his team ready to go on Saturday.

"They always have that spirit that keeps coming to the fore," he said.

"They always have the ability to win games people least expect them to and Dean is tactically a very good coach who manoeuvres his side around to the strengths of his playing group, or weakness of the opposition and that's what you have to be on guard about."

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