Dockers taking lowly GWS seriously

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon wants another look at rookie forward Michael Apeness to see if he can play a part in September’s finals campaign but the Dockers won’t be taking the GWS Giants lightly at Patersons Stadium on Sunday.


Fremantle and GWS are at opposite ends of the AFL ladder heading into their clash, with the Dockers looking to further close in on a top-two spot and the Giants trying to avoid the wooden spoon.

The Dockers regain captain Matthew Pavlich to play in the same forward line as Apeness for the first time while down back they have Michael Johnson returning but fellow All-Australian Luke McPharlin is out with a calf complaint.

The Giants have made five changes from the team that last week lost to Adelaide highlighted by Adam Treloar, Jonathon Patton and Stephen Coniglio going out injured, and Jacob Townsend and first-year ruckman Rory Lobb returning.

While the Dockers are unbackable favourites heading into the contest, Lyon won’t be taking anything for granted and has made sure that his team have done everything right in recovering from last Saturday night’s win in Darwin over Melbourne.

“We always ask the players for gold-standard recovery and we’re fortunate that it’s a longer lead-in, eight days to Sunday so that natural recovery should help us,” Lyon said.

“We understand they have had some challenges, but they are very talented; they have been put under pressure and they tend to respond so we will be picking our best possible team.”

Apeness is being earmarked as a forward replacement for Pavlich when the Fremantle captain retires, but that won’t be until at least the end of 2015 and the pair will need to work together.

They get the first chance of that on Sunday with Apeness to play his second AFL game after being drafted last year from the Eastern Rangers, and having at times shown at WAFL level with Peel Thunder this year that he can be a dominant presence as a marking, goal-kicking target.

Lyon just wants him to compete and provide a target for now.

“At the end of the day, I don’t worry if they take too many marks. As long as they don’t get out marked. As long as the ball gets brought to ground you’re pretty happy as a coach because the worst result is going in, they roll off and mark and they bounce out,” Lyon said.

“Last week he was outnumbered a bit and brought it to ground and he brings (Hayden) Ballantyne and those guys into the game.

“We’re not a super tall front half either so we could do with some more height.”

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