Fremantle has named utility Garrick Ibbotson to play his first game of the season in Sunday’s encounter with North Melbourne at Patersons Stadium.

Ibbotson, who hurt his ankle in the pre-season and missed the club’s first three games, joins an extended 25-man squad which will be trimmed to 22 on Friday.

Jay van Berlo and Jesse Crichton were also added to the squad.

Senior coach Mark Harvey said Ibbotson, who has been in full training, would be right to go, but he still wasn’t sure whether or not he would use the 23-year-old as a substitute.

“He’s an important player within the team and there are different ways you can look at bringing players back now with the sub rule… so we’ve got to weigh that up seriously,” he said.

But Harvey said using Ibbotson as a sub came with its risks.

“The risk that you take, if you do it that way, is that, potentially, if you do get an injury early, that would force a player onto the ground a little bit earlier than what you would like,” he said.

Harvey dispelled any doubts about star players Aaron Sandilands and Stephen Hill.

“He (Sandilands) is fine,” Harvey said of the star ruckman who injured his eye in last week’s win over Adelaide.

“He was training in the gym yesterday morning and will join in training probably Saturday morning.

“In some ways the fact that he only played half a game is probably good at this particular stage of the season, so I’d like to think he’d be a lot fresher going into this game.”

Harvey said Hill copped a knock to his calf and there was just some bruising around there.

“I wouldn’t have thought it’s an issue playing this week,” he said.

Harvey also paid tribute to 100-gamer Ryan Crowley.

“He was one of those players who got put off the list and back on the rookie list, so he’s done it quite hard,” he said.

“A lot of the jobs he does is for the team, so that should be recognised.

“And he’s played, more often than not, on the best player from the opposition. That’s been a significant accolade that should come his way.”

The Fremantle coach said Crowley was an option to play on Kangaroos’ on-baller Brent Harvey, but that the side’s depth made it well equipped to cover any opposition stars.

“We’re developing other players for those sorts of roles,” he said.

“(Matt) de Boer would be a player that we might look at in that area.

“Van Berlo’s done it in the past…he wasn’t in the side last week.

“We might give a challenge to a younger player like Nick Suban.”

Fremantle defeated North Melbourne by 61 points at Subiaco Oval in round 10 last year, including registering the equal highest score the club has ever kicked in a quarter (10.4 in the third quarter).

The Kangaroos returned the favour in round 19, knocking off Freo by nine goals at Etihad Stadium.

Brad Scott’s side has already travelled to Perth this season, losing to West Coast in a tight contest in round 1 and the Roos will be coming off the bye in round 3.

Fremantle Team

FB M.De Boer A.Grover A.McPhee
HB G.Broughton L.McPharlin P.Duffield
C N.Fyfe N.Suban D.Mundy
HF K.Bradley C.Mayne S.Hill
FF H.Ballantyne M.Johnson J.Pitt
Ruck A.Sandilands M.Pavlich R.Crowley

Int from G. Ibbotson, D. Roberton, R.Palmer, N.Lower, M.Walters, J.Crichton, J. van Berlo

In: G.Ibbotson, J. van Berlo, J.Crichton

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