Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says ruck duo Zac Clarke and Jon Griffin need to improve leading into the round-one clash with the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.
With premier ruckman Aaron Sandilands suspended for the season opener, Clarke and Griffin will carry the ruck load against the Bulldogs on March 27.
But the pair have failed to impress during the pre-season.
Clarke showed only flashes of brilliance in last week’s 12-point win over Geelong, tallying 10 disposals and 17 hit-outs.
Griffin was also quiet with 11 disposals and 10 hit-outs to his name.
Neither ruckman was able to hit the scoreboard – a worrying sign given Fremantle’s lack depth in their key position stocks up forward.
Clarke, whose pre-season was delayed because of a knee injury, will get another run when he lines up at WAFL side Peel Thunder this weekend.
Lyon said both Clarke and Griffin had plenty of work to do to prove their worth to the team.
“I thought they were just steady,” Lyon said of their display against Geelong.
“I thought they lowered their colours at times, and I thought they had opportunities to impact.
“I think they’ll probably need to step it up a bit.”
Gun recruit Harley Bennell will also line up for Peel as he attempts to secure a round-one berth.
Bennell was impressive in his Dockers debut last week, tallying 17 disposals, one goal, and three score assists before being rested in the final term.
A 10-week training program has left Bennell in prime shape after he experienced calf soreness earlier in the summer, and the former Suns midfielder looms as a key player for the Dockers this season.
Fremantle will assess Bennell after this week’s WAFL match before making a call on his availability for round one.
Dockers defender Michael Johnson will also be closely monitored by the club’s medical staff after suffering a heavy head knock when slung in a tackle by Geelong’s Nakia Cockatoo.
Most Dockers players will be given a rare weekend off this week, and Lyon is confident there won’t be any trouble to follow.
“We don’t want them to live in a monastery,” Lyon said.
“We like them to get out, enjoy themselves, get to family and friends.
“It’s one of their last weekends (off) and (I hope they) always apply common sense.”