Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says his team can’t rely on the emotion surrounding Matthew Pavlich’s 350-game milestone to give them the winning edge against Sydney this weekend.
Domain Stadium will be in a Pav frenzy on Sunday as the Dockers attempt to honour the club legend with a win.
Pavlich will retire at the end of the AFL season, meaning fans only have a handful of games to farewell the 34-year-old.
Dockers players will be desperate to put in a good effort on Pavlich’s big day.
But Lyon said it was unlikely the milestone would have a long-lasting effect on the game.
“I think there’s some emotion and that initial burst of energy, but then the game finds its rhythm,” Lyon said.
“It’s unsustainable for 100 minutes, that burst of emotion.
“But I certainly give it (the milestone) the respect it deserves. We always talk about honouring it with really good effort.”
Lyon said Pavlich’s farewell game – likely to be in the round 23 home clash with the Western Bulldogs – loomed as the bigger occasion.
Pavlich is feeling fresh after being rested for last week’s loss to Gold Coast.
And he could have a couple of old mates join him for next week’s western derby, with ruckman Aaron Sandilands and goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne closing in on returns.
Sandilands hasn’t played since suffering a punctured lung and broken ribs in the round-three derby loss to West Coast.
But the 33-year-old is back in full training and rated a “legitimate chance” by Lyon to face the Eagles next week.
Ballantyne fractured his cheekbone two weeks ago, and came close to being named against Sydney.
Defender Michael Johnson (hamstring/knee) faces an uphill battle to play again this year.
Lyon swung a surprise on the selection front this week when he axed emerging star Connor Blakely.
Blakely has been a rare shining light for the Dockers this season, with the 20-year-old averaging 20 possessions a game in a breakout campaign.
But Lyon said Blakely needed a stint in the WAFL to fix up his disposal efficiency.
“He’s turning it over more than we would like,” Lyon said.
“Darcy Tucker went back (to the WAFL), Ed Langdon went back, so sometimes you’ve got to alleviate the pressure valve on them.
“He’s disappointed obviously, but he’ll bounce back and we should see him again before the end of the year.”
Lyon also axed Jon Griffin following a series of underwhelming displays from the ruckman.
Zac Clarke will lead the tap duties against Sydney, who are light on in the ruck department following injuries to Kurt Tippett (hamstring) and Callum Sinclair (knee).