Crowley’s AFL future remains in limbo

Fremantle defender Garrick Ibbotson is confident master tagger Ryan Crowley can play a key role for the club next year if he’s not forced into retirement.

Crowley’s AFL future is up in the air as the Dockers digest yet another failed premiership attempt.

Veteran duo Matthew Pavlich and Luke McPharlin are expected to announce their retirements this week, while Paul Duffield could also follow suit.

Crowley didn’t play a single game this year because of his 12-month doping ban.

The 188-game veteran was eligible to play in the preliminary final loss to Hawthorn, but he was overlooked for selection.

Crowley is yet to sign a new deal for next season, and he could find out his fate as early as this week.

The 31-year-old was the best tagger in the league before being found guilty of taking a prohibited substance.

Ibbotson said if Crowley does get the chance to play on next year, he would be an asset to the side.

“I know he will definitely have the ticker to do it,” Ibbotson said on Monday.

“He did so much work to get back into the team and is a real fit guy anyway and loves exercising.

“He didn’t get the opportunity at the end of this season, and if he does get the opportunity next season he’ll do everything he can.”

Ibbotson is confident the club can cover the likely departures of both Pavlich and McPharlin.

“I don’t think they will be the difference between us being top of the ladder and bottom of the ladder,” Ibbotson said.

“We can cover anyone who comes out injury wise or who leaves the club.

“Alex Silvagni has come in and played roles plenty of times, and Alex Pearce has done the same.

“I played a bit of footy with Alex Pearce in the backline and his ability to go forward is a real strength.”

Fremantle announced on Sunday that assistant coaches Brett Kirk and Simon Lloyd had decided to leave the club.

Lloyd will take up a director of coaching role at Geelong, while Kirk will become an assistant coach at the Swans.

Star Fremantle midfielder Nat Fyfe will undergo surgery this week after fracturing his leg in the 27-point loss to Hawthorn last Friday.

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