Docker Johnson named for Hawks clash

Fremantle defender Michael Johnson will take his place in Friday night’s preliminary final against Hawthorn despite doubts surfacing over his fitness.

Johnson was reportedly in doubt for the blockbuster clash at Domain Stadium because of a back injury.

But the 204-game veteran was named when the final teams came out at 4.50pm local time (6.50pm AEST).

Nick Suban was named as Fremantle’s sub, while Billy Hartung was given the green vest for Hawthorn.

Johnson missed last year’s finals series because of a serious back complaint and he was sidelined for nine weeks earlier this season after tearing his hamstring.

Reports early on Friday surfaced that Johnson had been receiving ongoing medical treatment through the week for a flared disc injury.

The Dockers were already without key defender Luke McPharlin (calf), meaning they could ill afford to lose Johnson.

Back-up defender Alex Silvagni would have likely come into the side if Johnson had been ruled out.

Johnson appeared somewhat hampered during Fremantle’s nine-point win over Sydney a fortnight ago in the qualifying final.

But coach Ross Lyon dismissed any injury fears when asked earlier this week about the 30-year-old.

“He was very crook when we played Sydney,” Lyon said of the 2013 All-Australian.

“He looked off. It certainly wasn’t his hamstring or back – he just came off a heavy flu.

“He was sore. I said, ‘Mate, do we need to sub you out?’.

“But he was fine.

“He’s in really good spirits. He trained fully (on Monday).”

The Hawks are without star forward Jack Gunston, who is still nursing an ankle injury.

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