Freo name Carlton Mid Derby squad
As expected, the injured Roger Hayden is out, while Aaron Sandilands remains on the sidelines as he recovers from a toe injury.
Freo’s final 22 will be announced on Friday afternoon.
Suban is a logical structural replacement for Hayden, but he has only had one game back at WAFL level since breaking his leg in round 4 against North Melbourne three months ago.
First-year player Pitt hasn’t played AFL since round 8, ironically against West Coast, while Crowley lost his spot in the team when omitted for the game in Sydney.
The bolter in the pack is Faulks, who has been building an impressive string of form for Peel Thunder in the WAFL.
The former Sydney Swan has rarely been beaten in his recent outings playing as a key backman, but he may struggle to break into a Freo defence already containing talls Luke McPharlin, Antoni Grover and Alex Silvagni.
Speaking at the joint media conference with his Eagles’ counterpart John Worsfold, Harvey echoed Matthew Pavlich’s thoughts from the captain’s media conference on Wednesday that Fremantle had to find a way to beat West Coast’s forward press.
“It depends on the availability of your team to be able to beat areas of the game like that,” Harvey said.
“You have to have highly skilled players that are smart enough to understand and know how to beat it.
“In training you develop it regularly yourself and then you train to beat it.”
Harvey praised West Coast’s form this season, but he added that Fremantle was starting to build momentum of its own.
“They are, no question,” Harvey said in response to a question about West Coast playing as well as any team in the AFL currently.
“It’s a credit to where they’ve come from, we understand that.
“But we’re not going away. We’ve won four out of our last five, but what that counts for in this game is not a lot.
“There’s confidence within the group.”
Harvey said there will be a few things different this time compared to the round 8 match against the Eagles, including ruck recruit Jon Griffin, who has played every game Sandilands has missed this season and young ruckman Zac Clarke, who has played the last six games in a variety of midfield roles.
“The last time we played West Coast, there’ll be 10 players that didn’t play in that game,” he said.
Harvey said he would consider running Clarke with West Coast sensation Nic Naitanui, mirroring the Eagles’ occasional tactic of using two ruckmen in centre square stoppages.
“We’ve had Zac in there as well at the same time as Griffin,” he said.
“Not a lot, but spasmodically. We understand that that’s a real strength of West Coast so it’s how we combat that … it might be intriguing.”
The Freo coach agreed that last Sunday’s hard slog in Sydney was good preparation for the physicality of a Carlton Mid Derby.
“I think physically yes, absolutely,” he said.
“It’s a matter of how the stoppage gets played out. Sometimes it comes out unpressured, but we’d like to think that on the back of having a lot of pressured stoppages last week we’ll be able to control that and make sure it is that same way on Sunday.”
Worsfold said one of the keys for his side was finding a way to limit the productivity of Freo’s young star Nat Fyfe.
“He’s a jet,” the Eagles’ coach said.
“You’ve got an option of just trying to run with him and nullify his influence or you’ve got the option of just trying to back your game plan in.
“He’s certainly raised himself to that elite level this year to his credit. He’s an outstanding young player.
“I went and watched Fremantle last week and just marvelled at him. He’s awesome.”
Harvey said one advantage his side would enjoy on Sunday was the crowd, with this match being a Freo home game.
“It’s going to be packed to the rafters and I think that makes a difference,” he said.
“I’ve got no doubt. Absolutely no doubt.
“You can ask any team when they play in front of their home crowd what it’s like. It gives you an advantage.”
Freo went down to its cross-town rival by 33 points in round 8 earlier this season.
Prior to that, Mark Harvey’s men were successful in seven-straight Derbies, including a record 75-point win in round 18, 2010.
B: Antoni Grover, Alex Silvagni, Michael Johnson
HB: Adam McPhee, Luke McPharlin, Tendai Mzungu
C: Stephen Hill, Michael Barlow, Garrick Ibbotson
HF: Greg Broughton, Christopher Mayne, Dylan Roberton
F: Hayden Ballantyne, Matthew Pavlich, Zachary Clarke
Foll: Jonathon Griffin, Nathan Fyfe, Matthew de Boer
I/C: Ryan Crowley, Paul Duffield, Rhys Palmer, Nick Suban, Peter Faulks, Jayden Pitt, Nick Lower
IN – Crowley, Pitt, Suban, Faulks
OUT – Hayden (Leg)
West Coast Team
B: Will Schofield, Darren Glass, Shannon Hurn
HB: Scott Selwood, Eric Mackenzie, Beau Waters
C: Andrew Embley, Matthew Priddis, Matthew Rosa
HF: Bradley Ebert, Josh Kennedy, Mark Nicoski
F: Mark LeCras, Quinten Lynch, Nic Naitanui
Foll: Dean Cox, Adam Selwood, Luke Shuey
I/C: Mitch Brown, Ashley Smith, Patrick McGinnity, Brad Sheppard, Ashton Hams, Andrew Gaff, Jack Darling