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Will They Sack Him Now?

Only three months ago the Fremantle Dockers were playing a dysfunctional, laboured and thoughtless brand of football. They even managed to lose by a whopping 66 points to an even more inconsistent Geelong side. Rumours (even the hopes of some Freo fans) were alive that the situation would allow for a smooth handover from Chris Connolly to the 2006 season's new signing - assistant coach Mark Harvey.

Harvey was destined to be the saviour of a football club that had a more talented list than their more successful arch-rivals, the West Coast Eagles, according to Dennis Cometti. His public acceptance levels suffered no harm when he was forced to tow the club line and back his boss, Connolly, after Geelong's demolition job.

Then it all went pear-shaped. For Harvey's career progression prospects anyway. Connolly had the Dockers putting the points on the board by playing attacking, direct and entertaining football. All the stars were in the right positions, executing the game plan to perfection and winning game after with impressive ease. Even the most ardent Freo fans had red blotches all over their bodies from all the pinching they undertook in order to remind themselves that this was the real deal, not a cruel dream.

The Fremantle board now finds itself in a real quandry. Mark Harvey was appointed as the natural successor to Chris Connolly. One does not think it absurd to imagine a wink and and a nod from the Board to Harvey to confirm that he would be handed the top spot, sooner rather than later.

At least one decision has been taken out of the Board's hands. Connolly cannot be removed until, at the very least, his contract expires at the end of the 2007 season. However, what direction will the Board take if the Dockers continue to play their current brand of football in the 2007 season and do as well, if not one or two steps better, than they have managed this season?

Assuming the Dockers continue their winning ways in 2007, Connolly and the Fremantle faithful would consider it extremely unfair and highly suspicious if his contract was not renewed. Nevertheless, how would the Fremantle Board be able to reneg on their commitment to Harvey, as informal as it may have been. After all, we all know how many business deals are settled over a wink and a nod.

The Fremantle Dockers and their supporters are eyeing exciting times ahead. Could the success of the football department and team metamorphose into a poisoned chalice for the high and mighty Board?

Tags: The Match Referee

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