Dockers can cope without Barlow: Harvey - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dockers can cope without Barlow: Harvey

By Justin Chadwick 04/07/2010 08:41:50 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle coach Mark Harvey insists the Dockers can still be a premiership power this AFL season despite the loss of key midfielder Michael Barlow to a broken leg.

Barlow's dream debut season came to a heartbreaking end on Saturday when he broke his left leg in horrific fashion in a collision with teammate Rhys Palmer.

The 22-year-old, recruited to the club via the rookie list this year, was rushed to hospital and now faces an uncertain future.

Barlow's midfield prowess was influential in Fremantle's flying 10-4 start to the season, which has the club sitting two games clear inside the top four ahead of Saturday's clash with Richmond at Etihad Stadium.

But Harvey believed his team had the depth to cover for Barlow's absence.

"If people want to suggest that because we've lost Mick it may be the end of us - well then do that at your own peril," Harvey said.

"We've had injures to a lot of our players of the year and I wouldn't have thought it would stop us from progressing."

Ironically, Palmer could be the man to fill Barlow's massive shoes.

Palmer, the 2008 Rising Star winner, missed most of last season with a knee injury but played his best match of 2010 in Saturday's 57-point win over Port Adelaide, tallying 31 possessions, six clearances and five inside 50s in a masterful display.

But the loss of Barlow is just one worry for Fremantle, who will also be without defender Antoni Grover (hamstring) for at least two weeks.

Impressive youngster Nat Fyfe could also join Grover on the sidelines after being knocked out early against the Power, while Luke McPharlin (knee), Greg Broughton (hamstring) and Chris Mayne (ankle) aren't yet ready to resume.

But defender Chris Tarrant, who was a late withdrawal on Saturday due to an Achilles tendon complaint, is in line to return against the Tigers, while forward Des Headland will return from a knee injury via the WAFL.

Fremantle swingman Michael Johnson was rusty in his return from a club-imposed suspension but Harvey said the 25-year-old would be better for the run.

"He was a bit scratchy, as you'd expect," Harvey said.

"I thought as the game grew we needed Michael to stand up, particularly when we were losing players (to injury).

"I thought as the game wore on he got better.

"He needs to keep improving though."

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