Fremantle won’t have the chance to play finals in 2020 but senior coach Justin Longmuir feels Sunday’s clash against the Western Bulldogs at Cazaly’s Stadium in Cairns will provide a test close to the intensity of finals football.
If Melbourne beat Essendon on Saturday, the Bulldogs will need to win against Freo to finish eighth.
While Fremantle expect a ferocious Bulldogs opponent, Longmuir will not be changing how his players approach the game mentally.
“I think it’s really clear (the Bulldogs are) building this up as an elimination final for them,” Longmuir said.
“Their best is very good and as good as anyone in the comp. We’re preparing for that.
“We prepare for everyone at their best and expect everyone to bring their best every week.
“We’ve still got a lot to play for, we want to finish the season really strongly.
“There’s an expectation at our footy club, when you go out there and pull the jumper on, you play for each other and give your all, all the time. That doesn’t change just because it’s the last game of the year.”
Longmuir said doesn’t see any benefit in trying to motivate the playing group to play spoiler for the Bulldogs season, saying it was more powerful to use internal motivators.
‘We’ve spoken about the motivation to play for the jumper and the expectation that once we step out on to the field, you’ve put your best game out there all the time,” Longmuir said.
“I don’t necessarily believe in those external motivators (such as ending the Bulldogs season) I don’t think they last too long.
“I think you gain more benefit out of the internal motivators of focusing inwards, so we’ve done that this week.”
Fremantle are heading into the final round with back-to-back wins against Melbourne and North Melbourne.
While Fremantle will head to WA from Cairns on Monday with their season over, Longmuir feels his team has shown that they could have had an impact in the finals.
“We’ve beaten some teams in the eight, we’ve been competitive against sides above us at times,” Longmuir said.
“I think our form is really competitive at the moment and like I said before, we’ve progressed really well as the season’s gone on and we’ve improved week-in-week-out.
“We’d like to think if we had made (the finals), we could have ruffled some feathers.”