Mark Harvey’s influence beginning to show at the Lions
Dockers coach Mark Harvey during the AFL Round 10 match between the Fremantle Dockers and the St Kilda Saints at Patersons Stadium, Perth. Slattery Images
Former Fremantle coach Mark Harvey has been influential in the Brisbane Lions’ recent improvement. Harvey was given the axe following the 2011 AFL season to make way for former Saint Ross Lyon.
Fremantle and Harvey battled through a phenomenal injury toll which ravaged the club to the extent they barely managed to keep 22 players together. Because of this, many believed Harvey’s place was not under threat despite ending the year with seven consecutive losses and an 11th placed finish.
Following his questionable dismissal from the Dockers, Harvey was appointed the Lions forward coach. So far Brisbane is reaping the rewards.
Harvey has been instrumental in the Brisbane side’s recent run of form, which has seen them victorious in three of their past five games.
The forward structures have been excellent, evident in Brisbane’s 58-point victory over the Bulldogs last Saturday.
Captain Jonathan Brown made acres of space for defender turned forward Daniel Merrett to lead into. Brown was also responsible for taking star full-back Brian Lake out of the play, leading him deep up field.
According to the statistics, the Bulldogs game was not an anomaly.
In the past month Brisbane have bettered the form teams in the competition in terms of converting inside 50′s to goals. Brisbane averaged a goal for every 3.23 forward 50 entries, ahead of Collingwood (3.48), Sydney (3.6), Hawthorn (3.74) and West Coast (4.78).
Structurally, Brisbane has found plenty of space inside 50 for their forwards to work with, allowing for their sublime efficiency.
Harvey can take full credit for the forward line’s productivity, showing his cunning tactical ability.
If the Lions’ forward line continues to functioning efficiently, another club in need will undoubtedly notice and come knocking for his services. A coach of Harvey’s class can only stay an assistant coach for so long.