UPDATE 8.50am: Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich has put Collingwood on notice, declaring Dockers ruckman Aaron Sandilands is back to his fittest and best.
Sandilands was Fremantle's standout performer during pre-season and shapes as a key player in the Dockers' round-one match against the Magpies at Etihad Stadium on Friday night.
As the Dockers welcomed news that forward Michael Walters had escaped with a reprimand for rough conduct on West Coast's Brant Colledge from last Thursday night's practice match at Patersons Stadium, Pavlich said he hoped for big things from Sandilands.
- Spoke of the morale boost that Anthony Morabito's return had given Fremantle and praised the 22-year-old for his maturity.
- Expected Nat Fyfe and Hayden Ballantyne to face Collingwood, having trained yesterday.
- Confirmed assistant coach Peter Sumich's assessment that he had enjoyed his best pre-season in three years.
Pavlich said Sandilands, 31, had been in "tremendous" pre-season form.
"It is great to see the big guy back out there training and playing the way that we know he can and he is, touch wood, in terrific condition and he is really dominant at the moment and we are looking forward to that going into the game on Friday," he said.
"When you are 120kg and seven-foot tall and playing the demanding game of AFL footy, there can be some issues with your body and he has certainly had a couple over the previous two seasons or so.
"But he has not missed a beat since day one of pre-season."
Pavlich said Morabito had looked "a million dollars" at the club on Sunday after getting through his first match in 18 months following a third knee reconstruction.
"It is amazing what adversity and hard times puts you through and makes you grow. Anthony has obviously had the best part of three years going through that adversity and challenging times. To see him come out the other side as a person as well rounded and mature and better off, is a testament to him and the footy club support for him," he said.
"It is fantastic for the club to see him get through three quarters and play well."
Fyfe has not played since Fremantle's first NAB Challenge match against West Coast on February 18, but joined in training yesterday with his right knee strapped. Ballantyne, who didn't play against the Eagles last week, trained strongly.
Pavlich said he had been very pleased with his own pre-season.
"It certainly helps when you are able to get out there and train basically every session. I have been very fortunate in that sense that my pre-season has gone that way, out there and training a lot more than in the last two pre-seasons," he said.
Fremantle lost their forward structure against the Eagles at times last week, an area Pavlich said had been addressed.
"We sat down with the entire group and looked at some of our forwards getting too close to the contest and worrying too much about the opposition off the back of the stoppages," he said.
"We are looking forward to playing in front of 50,000 Collingwood fans. The guys really embrace those opportunities."
The Dockers confirmed today that they would accept the reprimand for Walters.
- Carlton defender Zach Tuohy has accepted a reprimand for striking Western Bulldogs forward Stewart Crameri in a practice match last Friday.
And Essendon's Jake Carlisle can play against North Melbourne on Friday week after his report for kneeing Richmond's Steve Morris was withdrawn.