Ballantyne antics don't faze Eagles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ballantyne antics don't faze Eagles

Justin Chadwick 21/07/2011 07:48:52 PM Comments (0)

West Coast AFL coach John Worsfold is confident his players won't get sucked in by the antics of Fremantle antagonist Hayden Ballantyne in Sunday's western derby at Patersons Stadium.

Ballantyne has established himself as one of the best nigglers in the competition, with his annoying tactics regularly resulting in opposition players lashing out.

The 24-year-old booted two of his three goals against the Swans last week, courtesy of off-the-ball free-kicks, highlighting just how good he is at controlling his own temper while aggravating opponents.

Ballantyne, who missed the round-eight derby loss through injury, looms as a key figure against West Coast on Sunday after booting six goals against the Eagles last year in a match-winning derby performance.

Worsfold said he had faith his defenders would remain level-headed and be able to control their temper, no matter what the enigmatic livewire threw up.

"I'm confident they will react in the right way," Worsfold said.

"(I will tell our defenders to) pretty much play the same way they've played every other small forward this year."

Fremantle coach Mark Harvey defended Ballantyne's style, claiming the 174cm pocket rocket remained just as formidable even without the niggle in his game.

"I think he's always had that element to the way he plays," Harvey said.

"It's a matter of sometimes constraining it.

"My instructions will be to play the best game you can."

Worsfold said the likes of Ash Smith, Patrick McGinnity, Adam Selwood and Beau Waters were in the running to get the job on Ballantyne.

West Coast skipper Darren Glass said he would be surprised if any of his team-mates reacted poorly to Ballantyne's baiting tactics.

"It's important not to let anyone get under the skin, not just Ballantyne," Glass said.

"I haven't played on Ballantyne too much but I think he does it more just to get himself up and about and, if that's the way he plays the game, best ofluck to him."

Worsfold believed emerging Fremantle midfielder Nat Fyfe presented a greater threat towards West Coast's chances of posting a second straight derby triumph.

Fyfe, who booted two goals from 28 possessions when he last played against the Eagles, has established himself as one of Fremantle's best players, with his uncanny marking ability and prowess at ground level making him hard to match up on.

"He's a jet, isn't he?" Worsfold said.

"He's certainly raised himself to that elite level this year, to his credit.

"I went and watched Fremantle last week and just marvelled at him. He's awesome."

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