Walters faces round-one ban
Eagles and Dockers players scuffle during last night’s practice match at Patersons Stadium, in which Fremantle’s Michael Walters was reported. Picture: Sharon Smith/WA News

Gun forward Michael Walters is in doubt for Fremantle's season opener after being reported for rough conduct during last night's 19-point loss to West Coast at Patersons Stadium.

The 23-year-old was booked for a heavy bump on Brant Colledge in the final quarter that left the Eagles youngster bleeding from the head.

Walters faces an anxious wait to learn whether he will be available for next Friday night's season-opening clash with Collingwood at Etihad Stadium as Eagles ruckman Nic Naitanui completed a successful return to AFL ranks in the 13.8 (86) to 9.13 (67) victory. Naitanui finished with nine disposals on a night the tall Eagles forward line showed it would be a daunting prospect this season, with spearhead Josh Kennedy booting five goals in hot conditions.

Walters' possible suspension leaves Fremantle with an added headache.

The Dockers' lost both pre- season games to West Coast and weren't convincing in their win against the Western Bulldogs last week, but coach Ross Lyon said he was content with the campaign.

"I said we were going to need every minute of the pre-season," Lyon said.

"We've got another week. There was some frustration of fumbles and dropped marks and some counterpunch.

"At the end we're a club that's coming from a month behind. That's the reality … we've got lots to do and little time to do it."

Nat Fyfe's preparation has also been far from ideal, the key midfielder ruled out just before bouncedown last night for the second time in eight days.

Lyon confirmed the club had been conservative with a minor knee injury sustained by Fyfe, but said last year's club champion and Hayden Ballantyne would both play in round one.

"Fyfe just wrenched his knee a little bit," Lyon said. "Because of who he is and how important to our midfield he is, it's been a no-risk (case)."

Chris Mayne and Clancee Pearce struggled, while Jack Hannath kicked a goal and looms as the most likely ruck support for Aaron Sandilands against Collingwood. Lyon said recruit Colin Sylvia and Anthony Morabito would play for Peel Thunder tomorrow.

Naitanui, appearing in his first game since round 16 last year, showcased his trademark athleticism.

Eagles coach Adam Simpson described the ruckman's return as "perfect" and said Naitanui would play in an intraclub match involving East Perth next week.

"It was just what we wanted," Simpson said. "Like I said before the game, it was get his minutes up. He got through unscathed and I think there's no injuries from anyone."

The West Australian

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