Pav no certainty to return
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says he aims to have Matthew Pavlich back for next week’s final round clash with Melbourne, but cannot give any guarantees.
Pavlich was a late withdrawal from Sunday’s 53-point win over North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium with a corked hamstring and adductor tightness.
“I haven’t got a crystal ball, but certainly there’ll be no risk,” Lyon said about a possible Pavlich return against the Demons.
“He needs to play, and he needs to train, so that’s the aim. There’s no sacred cows here.
“Matthew’s a really proven player, but you don’t want to be going into a final without having played, ideally, so the aim is to get him up and manage what he’s got.”
Lyon said the decision not to play his captain had nothing to do with Saturday night’s upset of Carlton by Gold Coast, which meant Fremantle was still a strong chance to make the finals even if it lost to the Kangaroos.
“It was planned three days out that he’d do a fitness test at the 100-minute mark pre-bounce,” Lyon said.
“He walked in, I queried him, and he said, ‘look, I’m not right to go.’
“That’s the way it works; I don’t make decisions, players and doctors make the decision.
“I just furnish the information.”
Lyon was assertive when asked about Kepler Bradley and Adam McPhee, who both looked groggy after receiving head knocks during the game.
Bradley played on for a quarter before being subbed off at half-time, and McPhee came off the ground for a short time but went back on and finished the match.
“This isn’t Mickey Mouse,” Lyon said.
“We’ve got elite doctors that look after our players, and they’ve got a massive responsibility.
“So let’s be really clear – I don’t know whether they were concussed or not.
“The doctors said they can keep playing … Kepler Bradley was throwing up, so we subbed him out.
“With Adam McPhee, he came off, I said, ‘what’s going on with Adam?’ They said, ‘he’s right to go’, so I said, ‘OK, put him back on’.”
Fremantle secured a finals berth with the win, but Lyon refused to look beyond next week’s match.
Freo could earn a home final if it beats the Demons and Geelong loses to the Sydney Swans.
“You can’t play in and win finals until you’re in them and you know who you’re playing,” Lyon said.
“I know the speculation is coming (about possible first round opponents)… but I haven’t got that luxury.
“All I know is, if you look too far ahead and concentrate on potential outcomes and results, you get distracted.
“We’re focusing on why we’ve been able to improve, and that’s our players and coaches working really hard together to develop a brand of footy that will stand up.”