Dockers' coach backing injured Pavlich - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dockers' coach backing injured Pavlich

By Justin Chadwick 21/07/2010 04:26:29 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle coach Mark Harvey has defended the recent AFL form of Matthew Pavlich, claiming the skipper remains as influential as ever despite a drop in output.

Pavlich missed training on Wednesday with a minor ankle injury but has been declared a certain starter for Sunday's crucial clash with the Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.

The 28-year-old began the season in a blaze of glory, booting 39 goals in the first 11 rounds while also spending long periods in the midfield.

But the 229-game veteran has been well below his best in the past five rounds, booting just five goals in that period.

Harvey said Pavlich's influence shouldn't be measured in stats alone.

"All I know is that he's leading from the front, he's doing what we ask of him," Harvey said on Wednesday.

"He's not going to always be on top of his game and he does a lot of things that don't necessarily reflect stats.

"Look beyond stats when you judge, that's what I would say.

"This guy's shouldered a lot of responsibility, he can make something happen out of nothing ... perhaps that's what we should be looking at rather than the end result."

Harvey said Pavlich's ankle complaint was only a minor concern.

"He has (had it for a few weeks), but he's managing it and so are we and in time it'll disappear, it's nothing major," Harvey said.

"It's one of those small injuries where you've just got to manage it during the week and when you play on match day."

Fremantle will be without defender Alex Silvagni (groin) against the Bulldogs, while tagger Ryan Crowley (knee) is only rated a 50-50 chance.

Defender Antoni Grover returns from a hamstring injury but Chris Tarrant (heel) must pass a fitness test later in the week before being a confirmed starter.

Harvey said either Grover or Luke McPharlin would get first crack at Barry Hall if the Bulldogs forward recovers from injury to front up against the Dockers.

Fremantle will slip out of the top four should they lose to the fifth-placed Bulldogs but a win would propel them two games clear of fifth place.

Meanwhile, Harvey revealed the club was compiling evidence and would soon approach the AFL's umpiring department about the unfair treatment being dished out to 211cm ruckman Aaron Sandilands.

"There's a huge concern about it, effectively before the ball gets either thrown in or whether it's a ball up, they're wrestling Aaron," Harvey said.

"So do you know who Brock Lesnar is? He's from the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), he's a world champion and it's getting that bad that we're going to have to bring him over just to get some wrestling techniques for Aaron."

Harvey also leapt to the defence of former Essendon coach Kevin Sheedy, who has found himself in hot water after taking pot shots at fellow coaches Mick Malthouse and Matthew Knights.

"If you know Sheeds, I guess he's a guy that just likes to keep football at the forefront of the papers and the media," Harvey said.

"I don't think there's any malice in it and if you once again if you know Sheeds take it with a grain of salt."

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