Football manager Chris Bond has implored Fremantle not to look past giving a maximum effort in the first quarter of tomorrow's clash with Brisbane as critics predict the Dockers will storm home to claim a top-four spot at the end of the year.
Brisbane made seven changes for the match at Patersons Stadium, which will mark champion Simon Black breaking Marcus Ashcroft's games record for the club by playing his 319th game.
Fremantle made just one change, with Alex Silvagni returning at the expense of Cameron Sutcliffe.
Bond told the club's website the Lions could not be underestimated, as evidenced by their away win against Essendon in round eight.
Fremantle are fifth on the ladder with seven wins, two losses and a draw from 10 matches, but they have a game in hand on Geelong, Sydney and Essendon above them and are considered a good chance to finish the season strongly because of their draw.
Brisbane won the NAB Cup but stumbled early in the home-and- away season. They have won just three of their 10 games, but showed what they were capable of against the Bombers.
"They have had some great performances this year without getting over the line in a couple of games and they obviously had a great win against Essendon," Bond said.
He said 34-year-old Black, a Brownlow and Norm Smith medallist, was one of the most respected players in the AFL, so "you can just imagine how he is thought about in their club".
Some of Brisbane's inclusions are significant, with Daniel Rich returning after missing seven games with a shoulder problem and rising ruckman Matthew Leuenberger back after a thumb injury. Tom Rockliff (quad) and Mitch Golby ( foot) are also inclusions, along with Sam Mayes, Jordan Lisle and Niall McKeever.
But Brent Moloney will miss the match because of a back injury, while Billy Longer, Marco Paparone, Patrick Karnezis, Sam Michael, Jack Crisp and James Polkinghorne have been dropped.
Bond said the inclusion of Silvagni, who missed the recent match against Adelaide with an ankle problem, was as much to do with Fremantle's structure as anything.
"We are really just getting back to the structure we have had for most of the year," he said. "From our point of view, Cameron (Sutcliffe) is an outstanding young athlete and he works and trains hard. He was just the unlucky one."
Bond said it was critical for Fremantle to work hard to maintain momentum.
"We have played some good footy over the first half of the year but we know there is a long road to go and we are not looking anywhere ahead of Brisbane," he said.
We have played some good footy over the first half of the year but we know there is a long road to go." *Chris Bond *