Fremantle tagger Ryan Crowley will thrive under the finals heat if he earns a dream recall for the club’s push for premiership glory, according to teammate Lee Spurr.
Crowley’s 12-month ban for doping expires on September 24, meaning he is free to return in next week’s preliminary final against either Hawthorn or Adelaide in Perth.
The 31-year-old was regarded as the best tagger in the competition before being found guilty of taking a banned substance.
Although his chances of earning a finals recall appears slim, they will be given a boost if Hawthorn beat Adelaide in Friday night’s semi-final.
Hawks midfielder Sam Mitchell tore Fremantle to shreds earlier this year, with the 32-year-old tallying 39 disposals and a goal in his side’s 72-point win in Tasmania.
Crowley shapes as a perfect match-up for Mitchell, but the Fremantle veteran’s lack of match practice means it would be a massive risk.
Spurr said Crowley, a veteran of 12 finals, would thrive if given the chance to play again this year.
“We know he stands up under the fiercest heat. So we’ve got full confidence in him if he happens to come in,” Spurr said.
“Ryan’s been stoic throughout the whole process.
“He’s a really hard trainer and a hard worker. From a fitness perspective, he’s doing everything he can if that opportunity does come.
“I know if it was up to Ryan, he’d definitely be playing. He’s there just in case.
“Things always happen in finals. Players get injured and those sort of things.
“He’s definitely trying to put his hand up.”
The Dockers are confident Brownlow medal favourite Nat Fyfe will be fit for the preliminary final despite his ongoing struggles with a leg injury.
Fyfe was on crutches earlier this week in a move that will help his troublesome left leg recover quicker.
Skipper Matthew Pavlich is also expected to play in the preliminary final despite being put in a moon boot earlier this week to help his Achilles tendon recover.
But defender Luke McPharlin is no certainty to return as he battles a lingering calf issue.
McPharlin was a late withdrawal from the qualifying final win over Sydney, and he needs to prove his fitness on the training track before he is given the green light to resume.