Fremantle coach Ross Lyon won’t talk Matthew Pavlich out of an early retirement if the 34-year-old decides to pull the pin in the coming weeks.
Pavlich is just six games short of reaching his 350-game milestone, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll see out the AFL season.
The six-time All-Australian has endured a tough start to the year, booting 11.15 in a forward line that has been starved of opportunities.
And with Fremantle no chance of reaching the finals, some pundits are calling on Pavlich to retire now in order to make room for a younger player.
Lyon says he hasn’t spoken to Pavlich about the matter.
But if Pavlich did want to hang up the boots early, Lyon wouldn’t stand in his way.
“If that’s how Matthew felt – you don’t want to talk people out of retirement,” Lyon told Perth radio station 6PR.
“Yeah, I would accept that. But that hasn’t occurred, so it’s a hypothetical.”
Lyon said the lure of Pavlich’s 350-game milestone wouldn’t play any role in the decision.
“I think 300 is a magical number. Anything after that is irrelevant,” Lyon said.
“The only thing that counts for Pav is a premiership, and clearly that’s not going to occur.”
Fremantle’s squad has been ravaged by injuries this season, making Pavlich’s leadership a vital asset in a tough campaign.
Pavlich’s presence has also eased the pressure on fellow spearhead Matthew Taberner, who is showing signs of improvement this year.
The Dockers sit last on the table with a 0-10 record heading into Saturday night’s clash with Essendon at Domain Stadium.
Clancee Pearce (concussion) is unlikely to return this week, but David Mundy (calf) is a chance to come back into the side.
Defender Garrick Ibbotson became the latest player to join the club’s lengthy injury list when he fractured his wrist in last week’s loss to St Kilda.