Fremantle will field up to 21 players from its best round-one line-up in Saturday’s NAB Challenge derby, but assistant coach Simon Lloyd says the club still faces a balancing act managing its underdone stars.

Key midfielders David Mundy and Stephen Hill will play their first matches of the pre-season, with Nat Fyfe and Hayden Ballantyne also named in the 26-man squad after returning last week.

Fremantle will field 22 players in its final practice match against West Coast at Fremantle Oval, using three players and a substitute on the bench to simulate regular season conditions.

Lloyd said the club was not concerned about a lack of match practice for prime movers Hill and Mundy, but it would be careful not to select too many underdone players in round one.

“Even though players aren’t on the track or aren’t playing NAB Cup or NAB Challenge games, we have got a lot of work into some of these players behind closed doors,” Lloyd said from Fremantle Oval on Thursday.

“There’s a real science to it, but you’ll find Brisbane are probably in the same situation at the moment.

“You need to be very careful with the balance, not to tip it over and take too many under-done players in, and we won’t be.

“Nothing actually compares to playing a game of football, but you find with both Stephen Hill and David Mundy, they come back to speed pretty quickly.”

Lloyd said Hill had trained strongly on Wednesday night while Mundy was also moving well and experiencing no ongoing trouble from a groin ailment that has kept him out of pre-season matches.

The club has the option of playing both in the WAFL next weekend ahead of round one.

“We’ll discuss that at match committee next week, whether players need a little bit more touch,” Lloyd said.

“At the moment, it’s a matter of just getting through this weekend, getting some good touch into them, and really just having that better squad of 22 out there and working together.

“It’s very close to our best line-up … I’d say probably 20 to 21 [of our best 22].”

Defender Greg Broughton has been left out of the squad, while young utility Dylan Roberton has been named for his first pre-season match.

Back-up ruck options Jon Griffin and Michael Johnson have both been named in the initial squad, as have key defenders Antoni Grover and Peter Faulks.

Lloyd said the club was assessing how many tall players it would take into its round-one clash with the Lions at the Gabba.

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