Fremantle general manager of football Peter Bell admits there is a reasonable gap in quality between the club’s elite players and the rest.
Two-time Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe and All-Australian Michael Walters are seen as the best two at the Dockers but there needs to be a group of players to bridge the gap if the team is to improve.
With captain Fyfe set to miss a few weeks with a hamstring injury, Bell is eager to see what the next wave of Dockers can produce as Justin Longmuir’s side look for their first win of 2020 against fellow winless side Adelaide this weekend.
“Let’s acknowledge that they are very, very good players. They are amongst the AFL’s elite, Fyfe and Walters,” he said on SEN SA Breakfast.
“But there is a bit of a gap there between the next crew pushing through.
“We need a greater depth of performance from all of our players so that gap with those two (decreases), who we have relied on a lot to win us games of footy.
“So whilst it’s disappointing to not have Nat out there for the next week or two it’s also an opportunity for some other players to have his game time to perhaps get more stoppages, to be in the centre square a bit more often.
“Look, we’d love to have him out there but it does provide opportunities as well. I’m looking forward to seeing how some of the younger guys react without their captain in the side.”
Regarding Fyfe’s injury, Bell is expecting the star midfielder to miss three weeks maximum after straining his hamstring in last weekend’s defeat to the Suns.
“It’s what’s been classified as your ‘garden variety’ hamstring, so somewhere around the two-to-three-week mark,” he added.
“I do know that he was running really well yesterday and his strength was very strong and all the other physio measures they use.
“He’ll push the medical staff, sensibly of course, but ultimately that will be a decision from them whether it’s a two or three-week injury.”
Bell says Fyfe is keen to have a “meaningful role” on match day where he will work closely with the coaching staff, whether that means having him in the coaching box or down on the bench.
“I think that will be wonderful for some of our young players to have a player of Nat’s calibre to sit down and talk through some of the coaches instructions,” he said further.
Freo meet the Crows at Metricon Stadium on Sunday with both sides searching for a first triumph of this shortened 2020 season.