Fremantle dynamo Hayden Ballantyne has warned against the dangers of complacency after the Dockers emerged from the toughest section of their 2014 draw at 5-4 and many predicting plain sailing for them over the next two months.
After playing the other nine teams in the AFL’s top 10 in a brutal season opening, including four games off six-day breaks as well as travel, many believe Fremantle will climb towards the top of the AFL ladder in the next section of draw which starts with the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium after the bye.
Ballantyne, who defied a surgeon’s advice to play in the 32-point win against Geelong on Saturday night and starred by kicking three goals, said any thought that the draw got easier was fraught with danger.
“There is no such thing as an easy game. I think Ross has said that before,” he said. “If you are 5 per cent off you will get rolled, so we have to prepare like we are playing against Hawthorn or Geelong or anyone.
”We have got the Western Bulldogs in a couple of weeks so we are going to refresh and refocus this weekend and then next weekend we will be out there going our hardest.”
Ballantyne said the Dockers still had plenty of room for improvement but he believed they had produced their best form of the year against the Cats.
”We are not very happy with having four losses,” he said. “I think we have a lot to improve on. On the weekend we played our best game for the year. We played some consistent footy pretty much throughout the whole game. We will look at that and just try and replicate that for the whole year.”
Ballantyne had a plate and screws inserted in a fractured jaw ahead of the Geelong game but performed brilliantly in kicking his three goals, including two superb efforts turning Geelong defenders inside out on the run.
Speaking at South Coogee Primary school this morning, he said he didn’t care how he kicked them as long as they went through.
“A goal is a goal. It doesn’t bother me as long as it goes through the big sticks. I think our accuracy was a bit off on the weekend so we have got to improve. I think we kicked about 20 points or something so it is something we have been working on,” he said.