Dockers can combine to cover losses - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dockers can combine to cover losses

By Sam Lienert 09/07/2010 06:07:02 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle have backed team unity to help them cope with the loss of key players to injury for Saturday night's AFL clash with Richmond at Etihad Stadium.

Assistant coach Barry Mitchell acknowledged teammates would have to step up in the absence of star first-year midfielder Michael Barlow, who broke his leg against Port Adelaide last round.

The loss of veteran Antoni Grover (hamstring) has also hurt a side already missing fellow tall defenders Chris Tarrant (Achilles) and Luke McPharlin (knee).

It leaves the Dockers lacking an obvious match-up for in-form Richmond full-forward Jack Riewoldt.

But Mitchell said Fremantle's midfield and defence would work together to cover those losses and try to starve both Riewoldt and the other Tigers' forwards of opportunities.

"If you can slow the opposition down you get time to get support to your defenders," Mitchell said on Friday.

"Our defenders work well as a group, as does our midfield, so it all works in together.

"Obviously (Riewoldt's) kicked a lot of goals and he's been in good form.

"But it's not just about him, (Andrew) Collins kicked the last two goals last week to win the game for them (against Sydney).

"We've looked at Riewoldt, but we've also looked at the other guys.

"It's about us winning as many positions as we can to win the game."

Mitchell acknowledged the Tigers posed a tougher challenge than the side they beat by 39 points in round five.

At that stage, Richmond were in the middle of a nine-match losing streak, but have since won four of their past five games.

He said the Tigers' midfield had been boosted by the form of improving young ruckman Angus Graham, who could not break into the side until round eight.

"They've been playing really well, won four of the last five games, so we're expecting a really tough contest," Mitchell said.

"Their contested footy and their tackling has been really strong, so it's going to be a big challenge."

Graham will face a major test of his form on Saturday night against dominant Fremantle big man Aaron Sandilands, who is playing his 150th AFL game.

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