Docker Crowley free for prelim return

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says he still hasn’t given any thought about whether to hand forgotten tagger Ryan Crowley a dream recall for the club’s preliminary final.

Crowley’s 12-month suspension for doping ends on September 24, freeing him to make a high-profile return for Fremantle in their home preliminary final against either Hawthorn or Adelaide on September 25.

The 31-year-old had established himself as the league’s best tagger before being suspended for taking a banned substance late last season.

Although Crowley has been training with the Dockers since July, bringing him into the team for a cut-throat final would be a huge risk.

“It’s a question without notice and it’s not something I’ve thought of,” a blunt Lyon said when asked about Crowley’s prospects.

Lyon is confident defender Luke McPharlin will recover from calf soreness in time to play in the preliminary final.

And forward Matt Taberner is also a chance to play despite being overlooked for Saturday’s nine-point qualifying final win over Sydney.

Taberner was initially named in the 22, but he was withdrawn just before bouncedown because of the looming bad weather.

The forecast rain and thunderstorms never eventuated during the game, and Lyon later admitted that Taberner’s marking power would have come in handy.

“Perth weather is hard to figure out at the minute,” Lyon said.

“In the first half we were probably saying it was a pretty good decision (to leave out Taberner).

“And then when we were getting outmarked down the line a little bit. Grundy was a bit too big and strong for Mayne at times.

We probably could have done with that extra tall, because it put a bit of pressure on Pavlich (not having Taberner there).”

With West Coast to host the other preliminary final, the chances of a western derby grand final are strong.

Lyon says the Eagles deserve their tag as flag favourites following their dominant win over defending premiers Hawthorn.

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