Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir has thrown his faith behind Sean Darcy, believing the ruckman’s deficiencies are easy fixes.
Longmuir was concerned after Darcy’s 0-6 free-kick count in last week’s 32-point loss to Geelong who didn’t play a recognised ruckman, leaving him to face Mark Blicavs and Esava Ratugolea.
His season free-kick tally is 4-18 and his career total 24-62, meaning his on-field indiscipline is nothing new.
The 22-year-old faces a huge test on Sunday against Collingwood’s All-Australian ruckman Brodie Grundy at Optus Stadium.
Despite the free-kick worries, Longmuir is keen to give Darcy an extended run in the hope he can develop some continuity.
“I thought he competed really well when he got his positioning right against Geelong and he competed really well against Naitanui the week before, took his dominance at centre bounce away from him,” Longmuir said.
“He’s got a few areas he needs to work on but we think they’re pretty easy fixes.
“He’s got a massive challenge this week against probably the competition’s best ruckman so we’ll continue to back him in.”
Collingwood welcome back vice-captain Steele Sidebottom after a four-match ban for breaking COVID-19 protocols but skipper Scott Pendlebury is out for at least two more matches with a quad problem.
Fremantle have been hit even harder by injury, with Michael Walters and Darcy Tucker their latest to be struck down.
Yet tThe likely return of Nat Fyfe will be a huge boost, while Connor Blakely has also been named for his first game of the season.
Longmuir has intimate knowledge of Collingwood’s players and tactics after two seasons there under coach Nathan Buckley before taking on the Fremantle gig at the end of last year.
“I think it helps with preparing our players, especially for individuals and their system,” he said.
“But there’s not a lot of secrets in footy these days. I think every club knows how every club plays.
“They’ve clearly changed a few things since I left and they’ve got some different personnel but I feel like I’ve given our players some decent insight.”
Collingwood are desperate to bounce back from last week’s 66-point loss to West Coast.