Fremantle champion Matthew Pavlich has backed Chris Mayne to break out of his form slump, saying the struggling forward deserves a chance to improve.
Mayne established a reputation for being one of the AFL’s most-accurate goallkickers earlier in his career, booting a combined 76.19 over the 2012-13 seasons.
But his form and goalkicking accuracy have tailed off significantly since then.
The situation has reached a crisis point this season, with the 27-year-old returning a woeful 1.5 through the opening three rounds.
Some of those misses have been simple 30m set shots from in front of goal.
Calls are growing for Mayne to be dumped for Sunday’s clash with North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium.
But Pavlich wants Mayne to be given a chance to work through his problems.
“As a forward, you do go through some troughs and some peaks and a variety of form in front of goal,” Pavlich said.
“He’s not having the best time of it right now, and he understands that.
“But he’s working incredibly hard to improve that on the training track.
“And away from the training track, (he’s working on) some imagery, mental visualisation and preparation.
“We get around each other when you’re not executing like you should be, and we’re trying to do that with Chris. We’ll back him in to improve.”
Fremantle’s finals’ hopes are on thin ice following their 0-3 start to the year, and they’ll face another stern test against the unbeaten Kangaroos.
Compounding Fremantle’s woes are injuries to key trio Aaron Sandilands, David Mundy and Harley Bennell.
Sandilands is expected to miss at least six weeks because of a deflated lung and broken ribs, while Bennell is set to spend 8-10 more weeks on the sidelines because of a calf issue.
Mundy (calf) is a chance to return for next week’s home clash with Carlton.
CHRIS MAYNE’S JOURNEY TO WAYWARDNESS:
* 2008: 10.8 from 17 games
* 2009: 10.4 from 5 games
* 2010: 16.9 from 14 games
* 2011: 25.23 from 22 games
* 2012: 39.7 from 23 games
* 2013: 37.12 from 24 games
* 2014: 13.11 from 23 games
* 2015: 28.17 from 22 games
* 2016: 1.5 from 3 games