Dockers coach backs midfield to the hilt

Justin ChadwickAAP
Justin Longmuir (l) is backing Nat Fyfe (r) and the rest of the midfielders to improve against Port.
Camera IconJustin Longmuir (l) is backing Nat Fyfe (r) and the rest of the midfielders to improve against Port. Credit: AAP

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir is confident his team's midfield shellacking against Carlton was nothing more than a blip in the radar.

The Dockers were given a major reality check last week as the Blues came out on top in clearances (44-30) and centre clearances (14-5) on the way to posting a 31-point win.

Fremantle skipper Nat Fyfe was restricted to just 11 disposals and two clearances in one of the quietest games of his glittering AFL career, while veteran David Mundy (13 disposals, zero clearances) also struggled.

Longmuir is backing his midfield group to respond, starting with Sunday's home clash with Port Adelaide at Optus Stadium.

"It's a blip on the radar as far as I'm concerned," Longmuir said.

"I back them wholeheartedly to bounce back.

"We'll keep putting the same guys through there. I don't think it's a trend. Three games ago we beat Brisbane and we beat Hawthorn before the bye.

"There's no need to be too drastic with what we change in there. We just need to get back to playing our strengths and playing our brand. I'm pretty sure we can turn it around quickly."

Fyfe's quiet display, in just his second match back from a serious shoulder and back injury, caused particular concern.

Longmuir is confident the two-time Brownlow medallist will soon find his feet.

"Physically he's going well, but he's still got a few things he's having to manage and that will be the same probably for the rest of his career," Longmuir said.

"He's disappointed with his game on the weekend, as with a number of our players.

"And it wasn't just our midfielders, a number of our players had down games.

"That was the most disappointing thing. There was something in our preparation we didn't get right and Fyfey was a number of a handful of guys who didn't play to their best. We need to bounce back."

Last week's loss saw Fremantle (10-4) slip to fourth while 12th-placed Port Adelaide (7-7) are still in the thick of the finals hunt following a gripping two-point win over Gold Coast.

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