Fremantle coach Ross Lyon will contact the AFL on Monday to let them know of his intention to rest a mass of key players for the club’s upcoming clash with the Power in Adelaide.
The Dockers secured the minor premiership on Sunday with a 54-point flogging of Melbourne at Domain Stadium.
The result means Fremantle have nothing to gain but everything to lose in Saturday’s game against the Power.
Two years ago, the Dockers threw betting markets into chaos when they sent across a ‘B’ team for the round-23 clash with St Kilda in Melbourne.
Fringe players such as Craig Moller, Jesse Crichton, Peter Faulks, Alex Forster, Josh Mellington and Jack Hannath were all handed rare starts in that game, with the Dockers going on to lose by 71 points.
Although Lyon was widely criticised for the tactic, it ended up working a treat – with a rested Fremantle outfit beating Geelong at Simonds Stadium in a qualifying final a week later.
Lyon gave a strong hint he will employ the tactic once again, with some betting markets reacting by already closing the market on Fremantle’s clash with Port Adelaide.
“We are fatigued. There does need to be management of our players,” Lyon said.
“I’ve got no idea what number (we will rest). It might be one. It might be two. It might be 10, I’ve got no idea.
“There’s no impact on any other teams in the competition. It doesn’t impact Port. We can’t improve or lessen our position. Clearly it’s an opportunity.
“That sits within the rules of the AFL. We’ll contact the AFL tomorrow.”
Lyon said he would sit down with the club’s medical staff and coaching team before deciding on who needs a rest.
Veteran defender Luke McPharlin, skipper Matthew Pavlich and ruckman Aaron Sandilands would be at the head of the pack for a rest.
Midfield guns Stephen Hill, David Mundy, Lachie Neale, Danyle Pearce and Michael Barlow could also be given the weekend off.
Star goalsneak Michael Walters is another player unlikely to make the trip to Adelaide after being withdraw from the Demons clash because of a sore calf.
Brownlow medal favourite Nat Fyfe (leg) and goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne (pectoral) have already been ruled out.
Complicating matters for Fremantle is the fact their WAFL affiliate Peel Thunder will be playing a qualifying final against West Perth next week.
It means Fremantle need to leave Peel enough players to be able to field a team.
The Dockers booted the first 10 goals of Sunday’s match against Melbourne to secure the 17.6 (108) to 8.6 (54) win, with the result guaranteeing them the McClelland Trophy for finishing first.
Defender Cameron Sutcliffe dislocated his shoulder late in the match, but Lyon said the injury wasn’t serious.
On a horrible day for the Demons, milestone man Nathan Jones suffered a game-ending ankle injury during the opening moments of the second quarter.
Demons coach Paul Roos was pleased with his team’s fightback after the early onslaught, but he was left to rue far too many errors.
“Certainly we slaughtered the ball early, which didn’t help us,” Roos said.