The West

Pavlich focuses on team

Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich wants his teammates to take the spotlight off his 300-game milestone against Geelong at Patersons Stadium on Saturday night by producing their best and earning a much-needed win.

The Dockers go into the clash against the third-placed Cats at 4-4 with four key players in doubt.

Small forward Hayden Ballantyne has undergone minor surgery on his jaw after a heavy hit in last Saturday's loss to Port Adelaide.

Dockers coach Ross Lyon last night told Seven News the club expected Ballantyne to play.

Lyon also revealed Zac Dawson (ankle), who missed Saturday's game, and Stephen Hill (calf), who was substituted out in the third term, should be available.

But the coach conceded key defender Luke McPharlin (quad) was likely to miss another week.

Speaking yesterday as he prepares to become the first WA-based player to reach the 300-game mark, Pavlich said Ballantyne was desperate to play and would be doing everything possible to take the field.

He rated McPharlin and Dawson 50-50 chances to return.

Pavlich said he was trying to keep his routine as normal as possible amongst the fanfare.

"It would be great to have 43,000 members and supporters there on the weekend wearing purple and cheering as loud as they can for a victory," he said.

"As much as I understand the week externally is made about me, I would just really like the team to go out and win the game of football and to take the spotlight away from me a little bit and us go back to playing our very best game of footy and be 5-4 going into the break."

Pavlich's family and friends are flying to Perth from his hometown of Adelaide for the occasion and he said the achievement would be most significant to his loved ones.

"They have seen all the hard work, all the extra ice baths, the days spent down the beach, the extra yoga sessions, the corkies, limping around post-game, getting up to play, the mental anguish - the roller-coaster ride that is the AFL," he said.

"I think mum and dad and (my wife) Lauren will really get the most of it seeing me run out there on Saturday."

The six-times All-Australian and six-times Doig medallist put his longevity down to good luck and dedication.

"I have played with a lot of guys over the journey that have had horrific luck with injuries," Pavlich said.

"Although I have had my fair share - nine operations and plenty of little niggles along the way - I have been pretty lucky in general.

"The level of professionalism that's required to play week-in, week-out for 15 years and travel the way we do, it's taken a lot of mental application."

Pavlich reflected on his first training session in which he collapsed after six 1km time trials and was rushed to hospital, and his first game in round five 2000 against Melbourne when he lined up alongside childhood hero Tony Modra.

The 32-year-old father of one said he had fielded offers throughout his decorated career from both the South Australian clubs and Melbourne-based teams but did not regret his decision to remain with Fremantle.

Pavlich admitted it would be the ultimate dream to win a premiership at the club he had stayed loyal to for 15 years, but he said the Dockers were a long way from that in 2014.

"Right now we're not playing anywhere near the footy we'd like to and we need to keep working really hard to get back to that level we were at last year," he said.

"We've played some good teams and some good football, but we're not quite at the level yet to even earn the right to get a crack of playing in the finals."

The West Australian

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