A convincing win under adversity against an in-form Carlton is a sign that Fremantle’s young group has matured, according to backline gun Luke Ryan.
With a 35-point win, Fremantle move to 5-1 with their fourth victory in a row – the Club’s longest streak since 2015.
These wins have come at an average of 43 points, as Freo’s percentage rose to 144.2 to reclaim second on the ladder behind the undefeated Melbourne.
The win came as the likes of Luke Ryan and Michael Frederick trained away from the main group all week to minimise the chance of Covid spreading after five players entered the AFL’s Health and Safety Protocols, including defenders Heath Chapman and Hayden Young.
And even without young guns Chapman and Young, Fremantle continued to be damaging on the rebound, led by Ryan’s nine rebound 50s and 583 metres gained.
Ryan also amassed 23 disposals, 10 marks and six intercepts in a performance that was on par with his 2020 Doig Medal winning season.
“This week was different, there were a few guys, including myself, who weren’t at training, and then obviously the massive build up,” Ryan said.
“It just shows the maturity of the group at the moment, we’re building really nicely and credit to the boys and the coaching staff, including everyone inside the Club, they’ve done a really good job.
“We obviously didn’t want to lose Young and Chapman, they were playing really good footy. The place we’re in at the moment, two go out we get another two coming in who play that role well. We haven’t had that for years.
“It’s really good for us, we’re a really strong and fit group at the moment and it’s a great problem to have.”
Ryan praised Freo’s tall defenders Alex Pearce, Brennan Cox and Griffin Logue for their efforts on Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay, the AFL’s most dangerous key forward duo.
McKay was limited to just three disposals, no marks and one goal by Pearce, while Curnow had seven disposals and two goals.
He added that Young and Chapman will need to earn their spots if they are to return when available.
“The big boys, Griff, Coxy and Moose (Pearce), they probably had the best two key forwards in the comp right now,” Ryan said.
“What they did, I think they had a couple of goals and didn’t take that many contested marks. It’s a credit to them.
“I’d hate to be in JL’s (Justin Longmuir’s) shoes, it’s pressure on Youngy and Chappy to come in, we don’t know what’s going to happen.”