The West

Serious Dockers ready for Magpies
Serious Dockers ready for Magpies

Fremantle have evolved into a "serious" club that is well prepared for the pressure that goes with opening the premiership season against heavyweights Collingwood.

That was the message from coach Ross Lyon, who said his players were paying the price on the training track to be primed for the blockbuster round-one clash at Etihad Stadium on Friday, March 14.

Last year's historic grand final appearance led to the Dockers being rewarded with prime-time Friday night clashes against the Magpies and Hawthorn in the opening month of the season.

Lyon said players had been asked to complete more kilo- metres during the Christmas-New Year break, given the shorter turnaround between seasons.

He is confident the team will be ready to roll against Collingwood.

"We've got the honour of opening up the season in Melbourne, one which we're very excited about," Lyon said.

"We've earned that right … they (the players) are really well prepared. We'll back them in.

"At the end of the day it's another game, but it's exciting. We're just thrilled that we're a club that's growing. We're a serious footy club."

Fremantle's only match against Collingwood last season produced one of Lyon's finest moments.

The Dockers were on the brink of being overrun in round seven after a 44-point lead had been slashed to just five points at three-quarter time.

But Lyon engineered a major momentum shift at the final change, casting Zac Dawson in the role of ruckman in the absence of an injured Jon Griffin and shifting Michael Walters into the midfield to spark one of the team's defining wins of 2013.

The club announced yesterday it had signed WA-based Amcom Telecommunications as its official shorts sponsor for the next two seasons.

Fremantle have also received a positive diagnosis on Zac Clarke's knee injury. Lyon said he expected the 23-year-old to play against Collingwood in round one.

Clarke, who did not miss a game after round seven last season, strained his right posterior cruciate ligament at the Falls Music and Arts Festival in Victoria on New Year's Eve.

Lyon said scans had shown the damage was at the "lesser end".

"It's not ideal for us," he said. "But we all live and we learn."

Stephen Hill will not train for a week after experiencing tightness in his right quad.

Griffin (knee), Kepler Bradley (knee), Clancee Pearce (Achilles) and Garrick Ibbotson (Achilles) were restricted to running laps yesterday.

Anthony Morabito's training program continues to be controlled as he attempts a comeback from a third knee reconstruction.

Lyon said the 22-year-old would make his return to senior football with Peel.

The West Australian

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