Michael Barlow may face Bombers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Michael Barlow may face Bombers

Justin Chadwick 08/06/2011 05:29:21 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle seem increasingly likely to throw caution to the wind by rushing back Michael Barlow for Sunday's crunch AFL match against Essendon at Patersons Stadium.

Barlow has played just two quarters of football in the WAFL reserves since breaking the fibula and tibia bones in his left leg in round 14 last year.

But despite Barlow's limited match practice, Fremantle coach Mark Harvey is ready to roll the dice, saying the 23-year-old would make the perfect substitute player as he continues to build match fitness.

"We're certainly not flirting with the idea, we're quite serious about it," Harvey said on Wednesday.

"The effect of prematurely bringing him into the team far outweighs the negatives I reckon.

"Mick's a guy that probably doesn't need a hell of a lot of football.

"It's just whether we can get it through the fitness and strength guys and put him up for selection, because I don't think it's going to take him long to find the ball.

"I've seen his game (for the Peel Thunder reserves last week) and there's nothing to suggest to me that he couldn't be a good sub player.

"Michael could sit in the forward pocket and occupy whoever he was playing on from an Essendon defending point of view.

"There's no problem with the injury. He's completely over that. It's just about his body being able to handle the condition of an AFL game."

The Dockers (5-5) have lost four of their past five matches and Harvey said Barlow's return could lift the team.

"I think just emotionally it would be an enormous lift for the team and also the supporters," he said.

"I remember Shaun McManus's last game, that was versus West Coast some years ago now.

"The emotion of that and what it did for the team during that game and the build up to the game - the positives far outweigh the negatives."

Fremantle defender Roger Hayden will resume in the WAFL after a lengthy layoff due to a foot injury.

Bombers midfielder Jobe Watson (hamstring) and key position player Michael Hurley (calf) are almost certain to make the trip west in a timely boost to Essendon's playing stocks after two straight losses.

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