Sandilands says players have no reason to be satisfied
Aaron Sandilands with Richmond Primary students. Picture: Michael O’Brien/The West Australian

Milestone man Aaron Sandilands insists Fremantle have not lost their hunger this season as they prepare for the "massive task" of facing West Coast at Patersons Stadium on Sunday.

Fremantle are teetering at 3-3 after consecutive losses to Sydney and North Melbourne and will take on an equally fired-up Eagles side keen to avoid four successive defeats in a high-stakes western derby.

The Dockers are in danger of going winless for three straight weeks for the first time since before the halfway mark of 2012, Ross Lyon's first year in charge.

Both teams are set to have significant inclusions, with Darren Glass and Hayden Ballantyne to return from suspension and Shannon Hurn (knee), Mark LeCras (arm) and Michael Barlow (knee) all being considered after injury lay-offs.

Fremantle defender Michael Johnson is free to play after accepting a reprimand yesterday over his clash with Kangaroo Aaron Black last Friday night.

Hurn and LeCras both trained strongly during West Coast's open session yesterday, while Barlow will face a fitness test after missing the past month.

Speaking yesterday ahead of his 200th game, Sandilands dismissed suggestions the Dockers had failed to produce the same desperate football which saw them surge into an historic grand final last season.

"The hunger is definitely there," Sandilands said.

"We have achieved nothing so for us the desire and desperation is there.

"The effort was there on the weekend (in the 13-point loss to North Melbourne), it's just a matter of getting our skill execution and a bit of composure with the ball and things will turn around.

"We know we have got a massive task against West Coast this weekend and it's a challenge we're looking forward to."

Sandilands said he would be ready to take on one of the most imposing ruck combinations in the competition, Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui.

Sandilands, Cox and Naitanui have 10 All-Australian jumpers between them, but Naitanui is being heavily criticised for a subdued start to the 2014 season.

"He's (Naitanui) a quality player," Sandilands said.

"He's very athletic.

"When you've got Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui in your side, you know you've got to be on your game to play against those guys.

"They've got great chemistry together and we know it's going to be a massive challenge."

The 211cm 31-year-old said comments made by legendary figure Leigh Matthews earlier this season that he was overrated had not affected him as he reflected on his journey from gangly rookie, to one of the most feared players in the competition.

Sandilands said his struggles with injury had not made the achievement any sweeter.

"When Fremantle did pick me up as a rookie I would have been stoked to play one game," he said.

"You blink and the next thing you know it's 200.

"It's been a great journey and I've really enjoyed my footy. I love the Fremantle Football Club and the players and the staff.

"It's been frustrating the last few years with injury, but always I was dedicated enough to do the work and had the desire to get back out there."

Sandilands, who has already committed to play on next year, said he would love to get better in the twilight of his career.

The West Australian

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