Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says it’s ignorant for anyone to think Matthew Pavlich should retire mid-season, while a final call on Nat Fyfe’s 2016 campaign is set to be made later this week.
Pavlich will be rested for Saturday’s clash with Hawthorn at Launceston as part of a management program designed to get him through the season.
The 34-year-old has been a solid contributor for the Dockers this year, averaging 13 possessions and four marks a game to go with his 10.15.
But with finals already out of the equation following Fremantle’s 0-7 start to the season, some pundits say Pavlich should retire now in order to give a younger player an opportunity to gain AFL experience.
However, Lyon clearly doesn’t agree with that opinion.
“There’s always ignorant, inaccurate people out there, and that’s the category I put them in,” Lyon said.
“We get stuck on age a little bit. It’s been a good decision (for him to play on).
“Not being captain – even though he’s leading strongly around the place at the minute – has been beneficial for him. That responsibility taken away from him has freed him up.
“He’s a bit more relaxed. He’s been terrific. He’s playing some really good football.”
Fyfe has been sidelined since suffering another break to his left leg during the round-five loss to Carlton.
The 2015 Brownlow medallist underwent surgery late last month to have an even bigger plate inserted into the leg, and he’ll meet with football operations manager Chris Bond on Thursday to decide whether he’ll play again this year.
Lyon said an announcement would be made in the coming days.
With Fyfe, Pavlich, Michael Johnson (knee/hamstring), Aaron Sandilands (rib/lungs) and Harley Bennell all unavailable this week, the Dockers are predicted to receive a painful thrashing at the hands of Hawthorn.
Lyon revealed Pavlich was keen to play against the Hawks, but the club opted to rest him for his own sake.
“He was a bit disappointed in a sense, but sometimes you’ve got to save players from themselves,” Lyon said.
“He’s got some niggles, so if we can settle that down (it will be good).”