If Steve Johnson thinks he’s escaped the clutches of Fremantle antagonist Ryan Crowley, he better think again.
Crowley will miss Sunday’s clash with Geelong at Simonds Stadium while he awaits his hearing at the AFL’s Anti-Doping Tribunal.
That spells good news for Johnson, who has been ruffled by Crowley’s niggling tactics over the past three years.
But Johnson won’t get an easy ride on Sunday, with Crowley set to give his teammates important knowledge on how to agitate the Geelong superstar.
“Ryan’s been sharing his knowledge with all of us about how to work on ways of beating opponents,” Dockers defender Paul Duffield said on Tuesday.
“It’s a great way to keep him involved.
“He even had a conversation with the small defenders the other day about ball work, how to position the body and those sort of things about stoppages.
“We know Johnson is an exceptionally damaging player, and he can take games apart by himself.”
Johnson is free to play on Sunday after accepting a $1000 fine for his hit on Hawthorn’s Sam Mitchell.
Dockers utility Clancee Pearce got the tagging job on Travis Boak in last week’s win over Port Adelaide, and he’s the early frontrunner to take on Johnson.
The Cats could be without star midfielder Jimmy Bartel, who was badly concussed in the dying moments against Hawthorn.
“I did see that and I hope he’s ok. That can be pretty nasty when you hit your head into the ground like that, especially the temple area,” Duffield said.
The Cats have made the finals in each of the past eight seasons, and they finished in third spot last year.
But they appeared out of their depth against a ruthless Hawthorn outfit on Monday.
Duffield is expecting the Cats to come out firing on Sunday, claiming it’s too early to write off the perennial finalists just yet.
“Good sides have the ability to let past results go, and I think they’ll move on from that pretty quickly and focus in on us,” Duffield said.
“I think the game will be as fierce as it always has been.”
Fremantle midfielder Tendai Mzungu (hamstring) and forward Matt Taberner (Achilles soreness) are in line for recalls after making successful returns in the WAFL last week.
But finding spots for them could be a tough task after the Dockers posted a promising seven-point win over premiership fancies Port Adelaide on Sunday.