Big bodies return
Midfield maestro Michael Barlow heads a list of four big inclusions, with hard-bodied types Kepler Bradley, Adam McPhee and Clancee Pearce also joining the 25-man squad.
A final 22 will be named on Friday afternoon.
The only omission from the team that defeated Gold Coast before the bye is first-year player Josh Mellington.
Barlow’s comeback, mark 2, was expected after senior coach Mark Harvey declared that the 23-year-old was “fighting the fire” at training this week.
Bradley, Freo’s leading goalkicker in 2011, returns after being omitted for the Gold Coast game, as does the hard-working Clancee Pearce.
McPhee is back after not having played at any level since tearing the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee against West Coast in round 8.
Fremantle knows what to expect on the tight confines of the SCG against the Swans: hard, contested football.
Harvey said the side had taken the opportunity at training over the past fortnight to focus on its stoppage work, including a session at the smaller WACA ground in an attempt to simulate Sunday’s conditions.
“When you get the chance to train harder than you normally would, because you had the bye, physically I’m talking about, then that’s been a real bonus from our point of view,” he said.
Harvey added that Freo would have to play with a restructured forward line because of the SCG’s smaller dimensions.
“It’s interesting at the SCG, if you play a traditional centre-half-forward, the ball can quite often go over your head on the shorter ground,” he said.
“So yes, we will. You’ll see our forward line in time, if not this week, will change a lot in the demographics of who plays down there.”
One man that Harvey hinted could line up in the attacking zone was the returning McPhee.
“If you go back and have a look at McPhee’s first seven or eight weeks in the forward line, he was one of our best pressuring forwards,” Harvey said.
“He hit the scoreboard, but not as accurately as we would have liked.”
The Freo coach said McPhee was just one of a number of different options up his sleeve to play near the big sticks.
“You’ve already seen Tendai (Mzungu) go down there in the last couple of weeks. In coming weeks, maybe Sandilands comes back and we might see him down there a little bit more, too,” he said.
Harvey also indicated that Freo’s captain Matthew Pavlich would continue to alternate between the forward line and the midfield.
He said the chances of Pavlich going head to head with his opposing captain, Swans’ dual Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes, rested upon a number of factors.
“It depends on where those two individuals play,” Harvey said.
“They’re both great leaders and game breakers.
“That’s up to Sydney if they want to put Goodes on Pavlich.”
As is the case every time Freo and the Swans play against each other, the winner takes home the Redkite Cup.
A charity partner of both clubs, Redkite supports children, young people and their families through cancer by providing emotional support, financial assistance and educational services.
The Swans currently hold the cup after defeating Freo in Perth last year.
Sunday’s game sees Fremantle embark upon a chellenging second half to the season which includes home games against four of the current top five sides, and away fixtures at Etihad Stadium against North Melbourne, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs.
If he is selected to play, the game will also mark 2008 NAB Rising Star winner Rhys Palmer’s 50th AFL game.