Serial pest has fight Fremantle need
Serial pest has fight Fremantle need

Fremantle forward Chris Mayne has defended controversial teammate Hayden Ballantyne, declaring that the firebrand would be "an excellent" addition to the team to tackle Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday.

Ballantyne is due to return from his second suspension of the year, a week for elbowing Richmond's Chris Newman before Fremantle's bye, a similar act to the round-one blow to Geelong's Paul Chapman which drew a two-week ban.

Mayne defended Ballantyne's approach yesterday and said anyone would be pleased to have him as a part of their team.

"Hayden Ballantyne is an excellent player," he said. "I would think that anyone would want him.

"He has got the fight that you want and the passion that you want for your team. He always gives 100 per cent and if he does get chosen to play, it will be excellent to have him back."

Ballantyne is almost certain to be included in the team to meet the Pies. The Dockers are also waiting on the fitness of midfielder Stephen Hill (ankle).

Mayne said Fremantle were looking forward to the Pies challenge.

"Every opportunity, every game you play, no matter who it is, you have got to come to win," he said.

"We don't really look at finals. We look at each game one after the other. That gets you where you want to be in the end.

"Getting another chance to play at the MCG is something that we cherish because we don't get the chance to play there very often, playing against Collingwood, on top of the ladder at the moment, nine in a row and proving again to the competition they are the one to beat.

"We enjoy the challenge and if you want to be a top-four side, you have to beat the top teams in the competition."

Mayne said there was no secret to Collingwood's success.

"I think they just do it with consistent effort," he said. "They are consistently rocking up and getting that performance.

"If you look at Geelong as well, that is why they are always a top side. Hawthorn and the Saints, they are always producing the same type of effort and that is what you expect from top-four sides. West Coast are starting to do it now as well.

"No matter how the game is going, good form or bad form, they are still giving the exact effort that you want. That is probably some ways getting them over the line even when they are not having the best day themselves."

Mayne is confident Fremantle are close to producing that level of consistent effort.

"Obviously so far this year we are pretty even at 6-6, but we are not far off, we are working at it and we have got such a great coaching staff with Ross (Lyon) now embedding all of his knowledge," Mayne said.

The West Australian

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