Pav primed to return but baby comes first
Matthew Pavlich. Pic: Getty Images

Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich has declared himself ready to play in this weekend's NAB Cup game against Carlton, pending the birth of his first child.

The 31-year-old rejoined the Dockers' main training group last week after being sidelined for much of the pre-season, recovering from back, hip and Achilles tendon surgery.

Speaking at the club's family fun day yesterday, Pavlich said he hoped to play half a game against the Blues but couldn't commit to the match because wife Lauren was due to have their first baby any day.

Regardless of whether he makes the trip for Saturday night's match at Etihad Stadium, Pavlich said he would definitely play against the Western Bulldogs in the NAB Cup match at Mandurah the following week.

The skipper's inclusion would give the Dockers close to a full strength squad for the Blues clash after Michael Walters (ankle) and Stephen Hill (shoulder) were given the all-clear by coach Ross Lyon over minor injuries suffered in a practice match against Adelaide on Saturday.

Walters had his injured ankle strapped yesterday, but was kicking a ball without pain. Hill was in no obvious discomfort.

The Blues will go into the game on a high after wins over Greater Western Sydney and Sydney in their opening NAB Cup matches yesterday.

In their first outing under coach Mick Malthouse, the Blues overcame the yips to chase down the Giants before running over the top of reigning premiers Sydney.

Dockers midfielder Nat Fyfe said he was looking forward to getting a first-hand look at what changes the three-times premiership coach had brought to Carlton.

"It will be a good challenge to see what they bring and what new structures and game plan they come with," he said.

"It's another good hit-out against a quality opposition."

With first-choice ruckman Aaron Sandilands sidelined with a hamstring injury, Fyfe said the clash would give the Fremantle midfield an opportunity to build a better relationship with the club's back-up ruck brigade.

"I think it's pretty exciting that we've got Aaron out of the side and we've got Jack (Hannath) and Jon (Griffin) and Zac (Clarke) who can play that role really well," he said.

"We're starting to develop some real continuity with the midfield."

The 21-year-old is hoping to play a full game against the Blues after emerging unscathed from three quarters against the Crows.


The West Australian

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