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Midfield rotation a win-win

Tom Fee  April 15, 2017 7:20 PM

Lachie Neale kicked a career-high four goals on Saturday.

With four goals to his name midfielder Lachie Neale put up a career best haul against the Demons on Saturday at the MCG.

Neale wasn’t alone in his efforts either.

Fellow midfielder David Mundy reached three goals for just the second time in his career - seeing the pair contribute seven goals to Fremantle's 106-point total.

Neale said he could see many benefits in sending Fremantle’s mids up front, with the goals just an added bonus.

“I knew I was going to play a fair bit up forward today,” Neale said.

“There’s always an opportunity to kick a couple, so I was happy to get on the end of a few alongside Dave.

“It’s good to be able to have guys rotate through the front half.

“It keeps everyone a bit more fresh in the midfield and it gives us a bit more pop around the ball.”

The move comes with Fremantle looking to blood their younger players in the middle.

21-year-old Connor Blakely went head to head against Nathan Jones, and helped keep Melbourne’s co-captain to just 18 touches.

Blakely picked up 24 touches himself, while Harley Balic had 15 disposals and a goal in just his second AFL game. 

“We’re developing guys like Harley and Connor, who did a run-with role today,” Neale said.

“It’s really good to have different guys go through there, like Stephen Hill as well – so it’s not just the same few each week.”

Neale credited Fremantle’s efforts in the third quarter as the side held on in a see-sawing contest.

The lead changed hands 11 times through the game, with Fremantle responding to Melbourne’s five goal run with eight straight of their own.

It all started with Neale, who converted a set shot after the half-time siren to get Fremantle within 21 points at the main break. 

“I think it came down to our pressure in the third quarter,” Neale said.

“Melbourne really got their ball movement and scoring going in the second quarter.

“Our pressure in the first half wasn’t up to scratch.

“In the third quarter we just brought that pressure and tackling that we has last week, and it really tuned the game around for us.”

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