Ryan Crowley. Picture: Getty Images.
Ryan Crowley. Picture: Getty Images.

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon is facing a critical decision on who to send tagger Ryan Crowley to as his team prepares to face Adelaide at AAMI Stadium tomorrow.

The Dockers brought in defender Alex Silvagni to replace the suspended Luke McPharlin, and Adelaide included forward Kurt Tippett after his latest bout of concussion.

Nick Suban was named to replace Dylan Roberton, and David McKay came in for Adelaide to replace the injured Jason Porplyzia.

Richard Tambling was omitted.

But Lyon's biggest decision of the game is likely to come well after team selection.

Fremantle could not cover Adelaide's midfield depth when the teams clashed at Patersons Stadium in round 10. Crowley went to cover prime midfielder Scott Thompson but Rory Sloane (33 possessions and three goals), Patrick Dangerfield (32 possessions), Nathan van Berlo and Bernie Vince all hurt the Dockers.

"We always go with someone," Lyon said. "Does Crowley go with Thompson, like he did last time? Dangerfield, Vince, Sloane have been exceptional.

"We have got to try and identify one. From our midfield we have been backing everyone in and relying on team defence. People get off the chain and they roll over and cover when they are in dangerous space. That is what we need to rely on.

"It is contested ball, isn't it? They are a dominating clearance team. They are ranked in the top four in the AFL in contested ball and then from there they like to go kick it a lot. They like to go to their key forwards and they have a fleet of smaller players that really damaged us last time. Matthew Wright kicked three, Ian Callinan, Jared Petrenko and those types are really dangerous at ground level."

Lyon said the loss of McPharlin was "hard to quantify" in terms of the effects it might have on the game.

"He is a key defender for us but it is an opportunity for Alex to step up," he said. "They have got Josh Jenkins and Taylor Walker and potentially Tippett, who we think will play, but (it's) irrelevant whether Tippett plays or not. Alex will come in and get an opportunity."

Tippett, Walker and Jenkins were "significant", Lyon said.

"They rank No.1 for goals from marks in the AFL, that tells you a bit about how they like to score as well, so they are a really big challenge," he said. "We are going to rely on pressure up the field. There is no doubt abut that.

"Why we were able to defend well last week was about pressure around the ball, and we need to bring that again."

The West Australian

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