Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has ruled out captain Matthew Pavlich for Saturday's NAB Cup round-two clash with Carlton at Etihad Stadium, declaring fathers "need to be there" at the birth of a child.
Pavlich's wife Lauren is expecting the couple's first child, and Lyon's stance is one of the strongest taken by a football official on priorities in that situation.
He had earlier told an audience of 750 at Fremantle's season launch at Crown Convention Centre that his thoughts on the issue were shaped by a doctor's warning to him at the birth of one of his children about possible pitfalls and the regret he would feel if he wasn't there.
"Him flying interstate would put that at risk so he won't play," Lyon said of Pavlich.
"They need to be there. They should be there. We should be really respectful of people's families and wives and the support that needs to be given there. I think the game has evolved a lot. Fathers never used to go to the birth. How tragic is that? We have all moved a little bit forward from those days, fortunately."
Brisbane forward Daniel Bradshaw missed a final in 2000 to be at the birth of his child.
Conversely, then Port Adelaide mentor Mark Williams stayed in the coaches box during a tense final against West Coast in 2007 while wife Pauline was taken to hospital for the birth of their fifth child. But he made it in time for the birth.
West Coast coach John Worsfold said he regarded the issue as a matter of personal choice.
"If a player said to me I am going to be at the birth of my child I wouldn't step in the way at all," he said. "Everyone is a little bit different. Will Schofield played after his father passed away last year, but I would have understood if he hadn't."
Pavlich will have his first match practice in the round-three NAB Cup game with the Western Bulldogs at Mandurah on March 9.
Lyon said midfielder Michael Barlow would be rested on Saturday, but David Mundy and Nat Fyfe would play full games.
Stephen Hill, who received a knock on a shoulder last weekend against Adelaide, will be rested.
Forward Michael Walters (ankle) will play against the Blues.
Lyon said Anthony Morabito's recovery from surgery, opting for LARS for his third knee reconstruction, was on target and he was expected to be in full training within four weeks.
"Fathers never used to go to the birth. How tragic is that? We have all moved a little bit forward …"" *Ross Lyon *