Written by AFL Online on 24th May 2007
Fremantle coach Chris Connolly has a strange way of â€˜moving on quicklyâ€™ from the clubâ€™s latest poor result at the Match Review Panel when Josh Carr was suspended for a week for striking Cat Steve Johnson during last weekendâ€™s match down at Geelong.
Connolly stated in an article in the Hun (see link below) that he was frustrated by opposition players feigning injury in order to get free kicks and that his club did not have a discipline problem. This is despite the fact
that 14 Fremantle players have been reported this season including arguably their most talented in Jeff Farmer. If Jeff Farmer is not undisciplined why isnâ€™t he lining up for the Dockers against the Saints in this Fridayâ€™s match? If Josh Carr is not undisciplined then why has
he been reported no less than 12 times since 2002? Free kick stats also
show that only the Western Bulldogs and Sydney have given away more
free kicks than the Dockers this season.
Perhaps the reasons to
the discipline riddle can be deduced from the utterances of Connolly
himself. Connolly blames everything from players feigning injury,
television overexposure and perhaps the alignment of the planets rather
than pointing out the bleeding obvious – Fremantle are trying to act
tough rather than playing tough football. Clubs that try to act tough
end up with a large amount of players being rubbed out as well as
giving away a large amount of free kicks. Hawthorn was an example of
this last season and this year it is Fremantle that is getting sucked
Freoâ€™s soft image perhaps was given a bit of an overhaul
when former hardnut Mark Harvey came to the club. Perhaps this is what
has contributed to the puzzling selection of the limited Troy Cook and
the even more puzzling recruitment of wannabe tough guy Dean Solomon
which appear to be symptoms of a team that is trying to act tough. What
they need are more players like Peter Bell who play tough.
Fremantle and Chris Connolly are only fooling themselves and Connollyâ€™s
comments appear to be a virtual green light for the ethos of poor
discipline to continue.