Fremantle has rested key players heading into the penultimate round of the AFL season against Hawthorn in Launceston on Saturday.

Stars Matthew Pavlich and David Mundy are among a total of seven omissions, along with experienced players Roger Hayden and Adam McPhee.

Youngsters Stephen Hill, Anthony Morabito and Nat Fyfe will also not make the trip to Tasmania.

Fremantle is already without Aaron Sandilands, Chris Tarrant and Hayden Ballantyne, although the trio are expected to be back in action soon.

Coming into the side is Steven Dodd, who will play his third game of the season, while Ryan Murphy and Clayton Hinkley will make their first appearances in 2010.

Rhys Palmer, Jay van Berlo, Clancee Pearce and Justin Bollenhagen are the other inclusions.

Fremantle general manager of football operations Chris Bond said team selection was challenging, but a mounting injury toll, a long flight and a six-day break leading into the club’s next match had led to a decision that erred on the side of caution.

“We sat through and went through all the possibilities that we could in regards to who was going to play,” he said.

“We go into the game thinking that we have to give it our best shot and make sure that we put in a good performance.”

Bond said first-year players Fyfe and Morabito had exceeded expectations this year and needed a rest along with Hill, who has played every game since his debut in round 1, 2009.

“All three players needed to have a break to make sure they’d be set and ready to go for the remainder of the season,” he said.

In regards to the more senior quartet of Pavlich, Mundy, Hayden and McPhee, Bond said the club had always hoped to give each player a break at some point of the season.

“They have been playing a lot of football for a long time,” he said.

“All the way through, we’ve expected all of these players to miss some football, but with our injury list the way it’s been over the last month or so, it’s been quite difficult.

“The best possible way for them to be in the best condition to play football for us for the remainder of the year means that they will be out of the team.”

Bond said the upside to this week’s omissions was that seven players would come into the side hungry to perform well and earn a spot in the team.

“We expect some great desperation and some real excitement and enthusiasm,” he said.

“Yes, we are going to field a young team, and yes, it will be inexperienced, but it also means it’s a great opportunity for some players to really step up and put our best foot forward.

“We know that we are going to be the underdogs, but in saying that, the players are really looking forward and really keen to having a great performance.”

Saturday’s fixture in Launceston will be the first time Fremantle has faced Hawthorn since a 22-point loss at Subiaco in round 8, 2009, and the club’s first appearance at Aurora Stadium since the infamous Sirengate clash with St Kilda in round 5, 2006.

Fremantle can guarantee a home final at Subiaco Oval in the first week of the 2010 Toyota AFL Finals Series with a win over the Hawks or against Carlton next Friday night.

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