The seventh-placed Fremantle head into Thursday’s clash with Geelong at a crossroads. A win will firmly cement their position as finals contenders while a loss will likely see them fall back out of the top eight.
In his weekly media conference, senior coach Justin Longmuir said the challenge was to keep the players focused on the upcoming game as opposed to the bigger picture – trying to make finals for the first time since 2015.
Freo will have little opportunity to feel comfortable on the run home, with their final six games against Geelong, Sydney, Richmond, Brisbane, West Coast and St Kilda coming against top eight teams or teams in the mix to make the top eight.
“(Being seventh on the ladder) is a reflection of our season,” Longmuir said.
“It presents a great opportunity for us…in a way it does (add pressure), but it shouldn’t.
“I’ve been saying all along that we want to improve our footy as the season goes on, and that opportunity still presents.
“It does present a level of outcome-based focus that we need to control. It's a different situation for our playing group and it's another challenge.
“We'll think about Geelong on a five-day break at home. It's really simple for our players to make sure they stay process orientated (and keep) their heads in the moment and on the on the job at hand.
“The ladder position presents another level of distraction that we need to handle.”
Longmuir said having the opportunity to take on the third-placed Geelong in a prime-time game was an important opportunity for the players.
“We get to go up against to a really good side, we need to improve against the better sides and it's another opportunity to see how much we've progressed throughout the season,” Longmuir said.
Fremantle head into the game with an injury list shorter than at any other time this year, however Longmuir said it was natural for players to be battling soreness coming off a five-day break.
“There's always a level of soreness within the playing group,” Longmuir said.
“It's really about getting your bodies as close to 100 per cent as you can. There's going to be guys that have soreness, there's going to be a level of fatigue creep into the game.
“We've experienced that last year, played off four-day breaks last year. So that experience should hold us in good stead.”
Longmuir added that captain Nat Fyfe was building strength in his shoulder saying it was ‘getting better week on week’.
The game will be celebrated as the Starlight Purple Haze Game, presented by South32 - where Fremantle will be raising money to help support seriously ill children and their families.
Make every goal count for sick kids!
Pledge a donation for every goal Freo kick in our Starlight Purple Haze game against Geelong and help brighten the lives of sick kids.PLEDGE