When opportunity knocks… there’s plenty to fight for
Coming into the Fremantle side is Paul Duffield, Nick Lower, Kepler Bradley, Clancee Pearce and Peter Faulks, who have all tasted senior team action at some stage this season.
Byron Schammer also returns for his first game since round 12, 2010, while Jack Anthony, who has played only two games since moving from Collingwood, comes in to face his old side.
As senior coach Mark Harvey indicated earlier this week, the players to come out were Matthew Pavlich (hip), Hayden Ballantyne (hamstring), Alex Silvagni (concussion), David Mundy (ankle), Adam McPhee (foot) and Antoni Grover (soreness).
First-year player Jayden Pitt is also out with a groin injury, while Greg Broughton has been named despite being under a cloud with a rib injury.
Pavlich, who had surgery on his hip on Thursday, believed the team was capable of playing the brand of football required to take it up to the powerful Magpies.
“Just because of the personnel changes that we’ll have this weekend, there’ll be guys coming into the side who may not have played a huge amount with us this year who’ll be desperate to show their wears against the best players and the best team in the competition,” he said.
“I think it’s a terrific opportunity for our group.
“A lot of people are talking about how difficult the challenge is going to be. Sure, we understand that it is the hardest game that we’ll probably play this year, but it does provide our players with a great opportunity.”
Pavlich doesn’t believe a Collingwood side with its eye on the AFL finals will be vulnerable.
“I don’t know how they are going intimately, but in terms of their preparation for later in the year, I would’ve thought they’d be fine-tuning everything, so we’re expecting a red-hot Collingwood, regardless of bringing players back or resting players for this weekend,” he said.
The Freo captain declared his young teammates as a chance of pulling off the upset on Friday night.
“It’s a two-horse race,” he said.
“Our guys are excited to take on the challenge.
“It’s another game of AFL football and it’s an opportunity that some of these players would have loved at some point in their youth.”
Pavlich said Friday night’s game would not carry any extra importance than any other game would for the Freo players who run out.
“Every game of AFL footy is important, for a wide variety of stakeholders,” he said.
“Friday night presents another opportunity for all those guys that get to pull on our jumper and run out there, hopefully, in front of a full house.”