The Western Bulldogs are ready to play party poopers on Sunday in Perth, where Fremantle will be desperate to give AFL star Matthew Pavlich a fitting farewell.
Pavlich, who is considered the Dockers’ greatest player, will sign off after featuring in his 353rd game.
Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge is more worried about recording a victory that could – depending on other results – lift his side as high as fourth on the ladder.
But he knows there will be something unique about the Bulldogs’ final regular-season match.
“If ever a team will be driven by sentiment, it’d be Fremantle with Matthew Pavlich playing his last game,” Beveridge said on Tuesday.
“The emotion attached to that … might add a spring to their step.
“We need to be ready for Fremantle’s very best and I’d imagine it will have some effect on the way they play, definitely.
“We’d definitely rather have a Melbourne final, so it (winning) is pretty important.”
Beveridge wants his club to be part of a post-match tribute to Pavlich but things could get awkward at Domain Stadium.
The finals-bound Bulldogs will be dashing to the airport as soon as possible after the final siren.
“Fremantle have got some plans for the post match which are quite lengthy at the moment,” Beveridge said.
“We’re communicating with Fremantle – making sure we do the right thing, making sure we can acknowledge him straight after the game.
“They (Bulldogs players) would like to shake his hand and probably soak up the atmosphere.
“If it turns out we can’t fit in (so be it) .. but hopefully, we get a chance to acknowledge what has been a fine career.”
Veteran defender Dale Morris will return from a back-related hamstring niggle and is every chance of manning Pavlich.
Rebounding defender Matt Suckling could also make the trip, having missed the Dogs’ last-start win over Essendon.
“We’ll need to assess Matty as the week goes on,” Beveridge said.
“He’s had an achilles issue and we’d rather have him back full of beans, rather than the half can of SPC.”
Dumped forward Jake Stringer is in contention for a recall but Beveridge has hinted Koby Stevens is more likely to be called up.
“It stings any player … it hurts,” Beveridge said of Stringer’s omission.
“The great thing is Jake is putting his head down and doing his best to come back.”