Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin has defended Bayley Fritsch amid claims by Dermott Brereton that the Demons’ forward is a “faux tough guy” who is earning a bad reputation.
Brereton, the Hawthorn premiership great and hardman, this week took aim at Fritsch after the Demon took out Denver Grainger-Barras in a marking contest on Saturday which left the young Hawk with a popped shoulder in a drawn clash.
Brereton said this followed incidents involving North Melbourne’s Tom Powell, when a Fritsch fend-off left the Kangaroo with concussion. He was offered a one-match suspension by the match review officer but was cleared to play after he took the case to the tribunal. Brereton also cited an incident in which Fritsch pushed Essendon’s Nick Hind into the point post.
“Last week we were talking about faux tough guys and we mentioned a couple. Now Bayley Fritsch is a seriously talented player, but he’s getting a little bit of a bad rep,” Brereton said on SEN.
“He’s got a bit of a track record … Bayley Fritsch is a serious player, but he has some form when he’s taken on the opponent when perhaps that’s not what he should have been doing.”
But Goodwin on Wednesday defended a man who has a club-leading 35 goals this season.
“It is completely no issue. Bayley is one of the fairest, cleanest players I have seen in the game. He is doing everything right,” he said.
“People look for things to talk about and, clearly, this is a thing, one to talk about, but it’s not an issue from my perspective. As I said, Bayley is the cleanest, fairest player that I have come across and he will continue to be that way. It’s his nature, the way he plays his footy.”