Fremantle ruck recruit Jack Hannath could cement a round-one western derby debut with a strong performance over the next few weeks, according to assistant coach Peter Sumich.
Hannath will rotate through the ruck in this morning's practice match against Adelaide alongside Jonathon Griffin.
Zac Clarke is expected to be used mainly as a forward.
With first-choice ruckman Aaron Sandilands sidelined for up to eight weeks with a partial hamstring tendon tear, an opportunity could exist for Hannath to slot straight into the senior side.
The 21-year-old made his NAB Cup debut in the club's loss to West Coast last Saturday night. His running ability has stood out since arriving at Fremantle Oval from SANFL club Central District in last year's pre-season draft.
At 201cm and 102kg, he was recruited by the Dockers to fill a perceived gap between their older, stronger-bodied ruckmen and young, skinny prospects such as rookie Craig Moller.
Speaking before the 26-man squad flew to Adelaide yesterday, Sumich said it was up to Hannath to grab his opportunity in the absence of Sandilands.
"That's what these games are for," Sumich said. "Somebody will bob out of the pack and if it is Jack, great, and if he deserves a game round one it's up to Ross and the selectors to pick him."
Sumich said the club was confident Sandilands' hamstring issue was not a sign of the 30-year-old's body breaking down. The 211cm three-times All-Australian will not require surgery but could be out until round four or five.
He has missed 19 games through injury over the past two seasons."He's had a couple of little things happen but other than that he's fine, he's up and running," Sumich said.
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