Senior coach Ross Lyon has highlighted two young Freo Dockers who are pushing a debut, but conceded that the quick Marvel Stadium surface may not be the best place for them to play their first AFL game.
Fremantle face St Kilda on Sunday at the ground, with the selectors facing a tough week at the selection table following an impressive 34-point win against Geelong in round 20.
Key forward Hugh Dixon and versatile general forward Sam Sturt have both impressed Lyon in recent weeks.
“There are some good performances at Peel that we’ll look at,” Lyon said.
“Hugh Dixon is really starting to push up, Hayden Ballantyne also played well, Sam Sturt is a first year player stating to come to hand.”
Sturt was taken with pick no.17 in the 2018 NAB AFL National Draft and has used his first year at Fremantle to build his body and football nous.
The 196cm Dixon was taken at pick no.44 in 2017 National Draft. Injury restricted the Tasmanian to nine WAFL games in 2018, however the 20-year-old has played more regularly this season in a number of roles.
Lyon said that the duo may need to wait beyond Freo’s clash with St Kilda to earn their call ups.
“Sam’s one of those taller 189cm marking and ground level players. If (Sturt and Dixon) continue to grow…we need to look at it really,’ Lyon said.
“Yes (Dixon could debut) he’s been improving. He’s been up and down in his preparation over the year but he’s focused himself and got moving.
“He probably missed an opportunity but he’s starting to come to hand, he’s had a few injuries. His football ability is not doubted.
“He can really play the game and he’s a young tall that’s building his body. He’s come to hand and playing some good football. It’s nice that he’s putting his hand up.
“Marvel Stadium, under the roof, it’s a quick stadium, it’s drier so it might be a bit more challenging for the talls.”
Lyon said that Dixon earned praise from his Peel teammates for his willingness and ability to play a team role.
“Hugh played full back for a while as Peel were so short there. That was good as it got him into competition mode,” Lyon said.
“(Dixon earned) a players award when he went into the ruck for the team aspect and for playing a role that’s probably a bit out of his comfort zone. He did that and that was really pleasing.
“Hugh’s gone back forward and I think they had a lot of shots on the weekend, they just didn’t quite nail them, hopefully there’s a positive story there.”
Lyon added that tall forward Cam McCarthy was also a chance to return after two goals, six tackles and 15 disposals on Saturday against Claremont.
“(McCarthy) certainly played well, he kicked two goals and had a number of possessions, so that was pleasing,” Lyon said.
“We’re doing opposition analysis with (Fremantle opposition analyst) Leigh Montagna and our football analysts in the back room.
“We need to look at St Kilda and from there, make a decision on how we go.”