Lot at stake for Freo talls
Matt Taberner.

Young Fremantle talls Jack Hannath and Matt Taberner are likely to battle it out for the position vacated by the injured Scott Gumbleton in tomorrow night's practice match against West Coast at Patersons Stadium.

Gumbleton had been used forward and as a pinch-hitter in the ruck to support veteran Aaron Sandilands during the pre-season after crossing from Essendon during the trade period, but injured his right hamstring against the Western Bulldogs last Wednesday night.

The Dockers named a strong line-up for their final hit-out before their season opener against Collingwood at Etihad Stadium on Friday week, but Zac Clarke missed the 27-man squad. He had earlier been ruled out after injuring his right knee during the Christmas-New Year break.

However, the 23-year-old came back into calculations after Gumbleton's setback.

The athletic ruckman did not train at Fremantle Oval while yesterday's session was open to the media and faces a race against time to be fit to face the Magpies.

Other options Kepler Bradley and Jon Griffin are still recovering from knee reconstructions, but second-year players Hannath and Taberner were both named alongside Sandilands to take on the Eagles for the second time this pre-season.

Hannath, who played 12 games last season, has had 10 disposals and six hit-outs in two NAB Challenge outings, while Taberner had just three disposals against West Coast at Arena Joondalup on February 18.

Star midfielder Nat Fyfe was named to return tomorrow night after missing last week's win with a corked leg, but was also absent during yesterday's open session.

Stephen Hill rolled an ankle and could be held out after playing the past two games.

Small forward Hayden Ballantyne completed a light program away from his teammates but was named in the squad.

Colin Sylvia trained but missed selection for the second straight week.

Exciting West Coast big man Nic Naitanui is expected to play up to a half in his first competitive hit-out of the pre-season, with two substitutes being used per team.

West Coast named all four of their specialist ruckmen, including veteran Dean Cox, although their 27-man squad will be cut by three players tomorrow.

Scott Lycett and Callum Sinclair, who both starred in last Thursday night's 35-point NAB Challenge win over Sydney, will be hoping to get a final audition for spots ahead of the club's round-one clash with the Bulldogs on March 23.

Bouncedown has been pushed back to 6pm, with temperatures forecast to hit 36C. A $2 entry fee will be charged, with alcohol not available at the game.

The West Australian

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