Fremantle squad named for Len Hall Game
New recruit Nick Lower comes into the 25-man squad at the expense of Nick Suban, who broke his fibula in the third quarter of last Sunday’s game against North Melbourne.
Jack Anthony, Jesse Crichton and Michael Walters have also been included on an extended interchange bench.
The final 22 will be named on Saturday due to Fremantle’s Monday fixture.
Feisty Freo forward Hayden Ballantyne said Monday’s Anzac Day clash against the Western Bulldogs would be a true test of the side’s top-four credentials after an impressive 3-1 start to the season.
Fremantle, which has beaten the Brisbane Lions, Adelaide and North Melbourne so far this season, hosts the Bulldogs at Patersons Stadium on Monday night in the annual Len Hall Game.
Fremantle has lost its last six clashes against the Dogs, including an 82-point defeat in round 17 last season, but Ballantyne said that loss could spur the side on Monday night.
“Just remembering that they did embarrass us a bit over there, it could be a motivator for some players,” he said.
“The Bulldogs have played in the last three preliminary finals and it’s going to be a big test for us. We know that and we’ll be guns blazing from the start.”
Fremantle has won two of its three Anzac Day matches since the club began playing regularly on the national holiday, against Geelong in 2008.
Freo’s one loss came by one point against the Cats, then reigning Premiers, in one of the best games of the year.
Ballantyne said coach Mark Harvey built the games up with the players and Fremantle deserved to play on Anzac Day.
“If anyone wants to play a game on that day they should be allowed to,” he said.
“I think Collingwood get a fair bit, so if they could share that around a little bit it wouldn’t hurt.
“Who’s to say that Collingwood should only play on that day or Essendon should only play on that day?
“Harves has a big build-up for these games and remembering the Anzacs is a big tribute for Australia.
“When it comes up you make a big deal out of it, because Harves likes to build it up and it’s a big tradition.”
Ballantyne approaches round five in hot form after a four-goal, 25-possession performance against North Melbourne last Sunday.
But the small forward said he was still a few weeks away from peak fitness after stress fractures in his left foot ended his 2010 season and lingered into the new year.
The Bulldogs are the third straight opponent Fremantle faces this season who are coming off a bye.
In a positive sign for Mark Harvey’s men, an AFL team has yet to win a game the week after the bye in 2011.
Monday’s game will also be Stephen Hill’s 50th AFL game.