Freo s MCG mystery
Alex Silvagni, selected in the side but didn't travel with the team.

Intrigue surrounds the make up of Fremantle’s team for tonight’s grand final rematch against Hawthorn after Alex Silvagni was selected despite being in Perth yesterday.

Silvagni didn’t travel with the team to Melbourne and he was spotted in Fremantle with teammates Anthony Morabito, Jon Griffin and Sam Menegola just over 24 hours out from the eagerly-anticipated showdown.

Assistant coach Michael Prior said the Dockers’ match committee had 24 players to pick from.

Twenty-three Dockers were at the club’s recovery session in St Kilda and Fremantle were adamant All-Australian defender Michael Johnson would join them after missing Wednesday’s flight for personal reasons.

Adding to the mystery, Fremantle last night refused to say whether Silvagni had even flown to Melbourne.

“We have until tomorrow to finalise the team,” a spokesman said.

With Zac Dawson suspended, the Dockers need to find a replacement key defender.

Hawthorn forward Jack Gunston kicked four goals in last year’s grand final win and Fremantle had to play Paul Duffield as a tall defender at times in an attempt to curtail his influence.

Johnson was sore earlier in the week after last Saturday’s match against Gold Coast.

The back line welcomes the return of Garrick Ibbotson for his first match since round 18 after recovering from an Achilles injury.
Ibbotson was a shining light for the Dockers last season before succumbing to injury.

Prior said Ibbotson had convinced the match committee he was ready to perform.

“He really improved last year, we thought,” Prior said.

“His intercept marks down back were really valuable for us.

“We expect him to take off where he left off last year.

“He’s over his injury concerns. His running numbers and the work we’ve been able to get into him over summer shows he’s up and about at the moment.”

With Dawson, Nat Fyfe (suspended) and Michael Barlow (injured) missing from the team that thrashed Gold Coast, Lachie Neale joined Ibbotson and Silvagni in the team.

Hawthorn veteran Sam Mitchell was selected despite missing last Friday night’s win over Essendon with a calf injury, but inspirational captain Luke Hodge (groin) was ruled out of the match early yesterday.

Utility player Matt Spangher replaced young forward Tim O’Brien.

Premiership players Ben Stratton and Brad Sewell will return from their hamstring injuries through the VFL.

Hawks coach Alastair Clarkson said Hodge was keen to play, but the decision had been taken out of his hands.

“He’s got a pretty minor ailment and he’s been banging the door down trying to tell us that he’s OK,” Clarkson said.

“But we’re better off just taking a week.

“We think he’s probably nearly right to play, but it’s just too early in the season to take risks.

“He’s a warrior and he’s captain of the club and wants to get out there and play as often as he can, but we just think it’s better off he has a rest and get him right for next week.”

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West