Resurgent Dockers staying grounded in AFL

The winning vibe has finally returned to Fremantle, but coach Ross Lyon has warned his players not to get carried away just yet.

The Dockers have moved up to 15th spot on the AFL table following successive wins over Essendon, Brisbane, and Port Adelaide.

While the big wins over Essendon and Brisbane were expected, the Dockers started as underdogs against the Power, whose 17-point loss in Perth on Saturday night severely dented their finals hopes.

Fremantle will have the chance to notch their fourth win on the trot when they take on struggling Collingwood at the MCG on Friday night.

But with games against flag fancies Geelong, Sydney, West Coast, Adelaide, GWS, and the Bulldogs to come in Fremantle’s run home, Lyon said some tough challenges await his side.

“Look, (we’ve taken) little steps forward,” Lyon said.

“There’s some growth around the place. That’s three weeks in a row now, so we’re pleased with that.

“Fundamentally we aim to compete and improve, and we think we’ve made some inroads there.

“But the top echelons of the ladder – there’s sterner tests again.”

Lyon will consider resting veteran forward Matthew Pavlich against Collingwood.

Pavlich booted four goals against the Power.

But the six-day break between games, plus the fact the match is in Melbourne, could convince the Dockers to leave Pavlich at home.

Forward Tanner Smith (hamstring) will miss the match, with Jack Hannath firming as an inclusion.

Fremantle’s mid-season revival has been sparked by the emergence of some future stars.

Connor Blakely has been a revelation through the midfield, while Sam Collins, Hayden Crozier, Lachie Weller and Darcy Tucker have also performed strongly.

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