Fremantle coach Ross Lyon will sit down with his team’s medical staff this week to decide which players to rest for Saturday’s AFL clash with the Power in Adelaide.
The Dockers are set to rest a host of their best players for the Power clash after wrapping up the minor premiership on Sunday with a 54-point trouncing of Melbourne at Domain Stadium.
Veteran defender Luke McPharlin, skipper Matthew Pavlich and ruckman Aaron Sandilands are at the head of the queue for a rest.
And midfield guns Stephen Hill, David Mundy, Lachie Neale, Danyle Pearce and Michael Barlow could also be given the weekend off.
Nat Fyfe (leg) and Hayden Ballantyne (pectoral) have already been ruled out, while Michael Walters could join them after missing the Demons clash because of a calf injury.
Defender Cameron Sutcliffe is also in doubt after dislocating his shoulder against the Demons.
The AFL tightened its rules in relation to resting players after Fremantle sent a ‘B’ team to play St Kilda in round 23, 2013.
The Dockers ended up losing that match by 71 points, but their full-strength side beat Geelong in a qualifying final at Simonds Stadium a week later.
Under the new AFL rules, teams can still rest players to manage fatigue or injuries, but they can’t do it to improve their draft position or manipulate their position on the ladder.
That terminology still gives Fremantle enough scope to send over a ‘B’ team to face the Power at Adelaide Oval.
Lyon said it was important to assess every player to see which ones needed a rest.
“Our strength and conditioning guys are data dominated. They’ll produce the data and facts,” Lyon said.
“We’ll look at form and our medical will put through all the injuries. Because no team gets to this stage of the year where people aren’t carrying things.
“But we also respect we need to hit the finals in good form and be competing.
“We’ll try to strike that balance. But clearly one will suffer at the expense of the other.”
Fremantle’s minor premiership win means the club has finally snared a meaningful trophy after 21 years of trying.
But for Lyon, the real prize he’s after is the flag.
“It (the minor premiership) is the first time in the club’s history, so we tick that box,” Lyon said.
“But we understand it’s just the starting point for the real season. It’s really about getting a good grid position to attack the real season.
“It’d be nice to create some more history from there. That’s the aim.”
Pavlich booted three goals from 20 disposals before being subbed out in the third quarter against Melbourne.
The 33-year-old missed the previous game because of Achilles tendon soreness, but Lyon said Pavlich had no such issues against the Demons.
“He had his swerve back,” Lyon said.