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Coach may freshen up rising Dockers

By Jim Morton 09/05/2010 01:33:03 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle's amazing AFL transformation continued on their hoodoo ground but coach Mark Harvey believes he must now make a handful of changes to challenge the best team in the competition.

The Dockers, sitting pretty at 6-1 after ending a 15-year drought at the Gabba, face Collingwood on Friday night in what Harvey sees as the ultimate test of his young side.

The big-stage Subiaco Oval clash will be Freo's second six-day turnaround following last Sunday's bruising western derby win over the Eagles.

Considering the taxing nature of the schedule and the inexperience of his group, Harvey revealed four or five changes were required.

Antoni Grover plus youngsters Jay Van Berlo and Nick Suban are three set to be called in after an inaccurate Fremantle tired in the final term of Saturday night's 15.23 (113) to 15.10 (100) win over an injury-riddled Brisbane.

It ended the worst away record in the AFL and while Harvey rated it a milestone, he otherwise played down the achievement and the Dockers sensational start to 2010.

"I think it was significant - it's a big trip, six-day break, (we're) a young side but a lot of things went our way tonight," he said.

"They got a couple of injuries before the game and during the game, so all that helps and you take it while you can.

"Yes (it is going well), but we're probably playing the best team in the competition next week though.

"There's a lot of unknown about the competition at the moment. There seem to be a lot of things that can go right or wrong quickly, and you're back to the field no matter what if they don't go your way.

"At the moment we're making the most of it."

Collingwood also sit in joint top spot on the AFL table on 24 points after blowing away North Melbourne by 66 points on Saturday night.

Although most would have tipped Fremantle to start 1-6 rather than 6-1, Harvey won't even contemplate a possible finals berth.

"We'll take each game (as it comes), you can ask me that question as much as you want, but I will not say anything that would detract from us just playing on a weekly basis," he said.

While outstanding young midfielder Stephen Hill was the best on ground against the Lions, the coach lavished most praise on his defensive duo of Chris Tarrant and Luke McPharlin.

Tarrant restricted Jonathan Brown to just three uncontested marks, while Brendan Fevola did well to eke out three goals from limited opportunities against McPharlin.

"I thought our defenders were right at them the whole time," Harvey said.

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