Barlow blessed for AFL midfield maestros

When Fremantle midfielder Michael Barlow collects the ball and takes a quick look around, he can’t help but like what he sees.

The Dockers have firmed as flag contenders following their blistering 3-0 start to the season.

Fremantle’s white-hot midfield brigade have been a key to the team’s early-season success, with Nat Fyfe and Stephen Hill particularly damaging.

Hill has tallied 59 possessions and five goals over the past fortnight, while Fyfe is the Brownlow Medal favourite after racking up hauls of 31, 36, and 31 disposals over the first three rounds.

Danyle Pearce, David Mundy, and Lachie Neale have also played key roles, and Barlow feels blessed to have so many good players around him.

“It’s basically a team rule that if you’ve got the ball and Hill’s close by, you like to give him the ball,” Barlow said.

“He’s such a damaging player with metres gained and he rarely misses a target.

“Fyfe’s going quite well and I think other teams are recognising that in so much as putting a fair bit of attention into him.

“He said to us after the (Eagles) game, ‘I’ll just keep taking the tag fellas and let you boys get to work’.

“But in saying that, Nat is just another cog in the wheel and he’s really driven by team success more than anything.”

Fremantle’s midfield will receive their biggest test of the season when they take on Sydney in Saturday night’s clash at Domain Stadium.

The Swans also enter the match unbeaten, with their engine room of Dan Hannebery, Kieren Jack, Jarrad McVeigh, Luke Parker, and Josh Kennedy proving hard to stop.

If they manage to get off the leash again, then Swans forward Lance Franklin could have another field day after he booted 5.5 in last week’s win over GWS.

“You don’t have to look too much further than Sydney as one of the most effective midfields in the comp,” Barlow said.

“It’s a really diverse mixture as well. They’ve got a lot of players that can go through there a bit like us.”

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