McPhee not confirmed for Freo - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

McPhee not confirmed for Freo

By Justin Chadwick 31/03/2010 08:21:05 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle defender Adam McPhee is facing a race against time to prove his fitness for Sunday's AFL grudge match against his former club Essendon at Etihad Stadium.

The 27-year-old, who angered the Bombers when he quit the club at the end of last year to link up with Fremantle through the pre-season draft, is struggling to overcome an ankle injury that twice plagued him during the NAB Cup.

McPhee is expected to train on Thursday but Fremantle coach Mark Harvey conceded the 168-game veteran was no certainty to line up against the Bombers.

"(Selection) is the unknown quantity at the moment with the injury," Harvey said on Wednesday.

"(But) he's very keen to play.

"It's not representative of who we play this week, he just wants to play."

McPhee, a best and fairest winner at Essendon in 2004, has battled to find form since returning to the Dockers.

Harvey believed off-season shoulder surgery plus a niggling ankle complaint had resulted in McPhee performing below his peak.

"He's had a limited preparation," Harvey said of McPhee, who tallied just six possessions in last week's 56-point mauling of Adelaide.

"He had a shoulder operation last year, then he's had three bouts of his ankle issue he's got at the moment.

"When you are doing a pre-season or you're playing games the last thing you need, and I'm not making an excuse for whether you perceive he's playing well or not, but he just needs a good run at it.

"He adds a lot from a balance point of view to our team at the moment.

"I think in time you'll find that you'll be reasonably happy he's here."

Harvey said he had spoken to McPhee in order to gain inside knowledge on Essendon's playing list and their team strategies.

And Harvey warned his players not to get complacent despite the team's stunning performance against the Crows.

"It's actually interesting, when we trained today I said to the players 'train as if we've lost'," he said.

"Get confidence out of winning but train as if we've lost.

"That was the point I made."

Harvey has also kept Michael Barlow's feet firmly planted on the ground by playing down the rookie's 33-possession, two-goal effort against the Crows.

"I actually don't think he was our best player," Harvey said.

"Other people do, that's their opinion."

Barlow received nine votes out of a possible 10 from Harvey and Crows coach Neil Craig in the AFL Coaches Association player of the year voting for the match.

Each coach votes on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis, meaning either Aaron Sandilands (six votes) or defender Luke McPharlin (six votes) received full votes from Harvey given they were the only other players to record five votes or more.

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