Grey in line to make debut for Fremantle
Brady Grey. Pic: WA News

Fremantle teenager Brady Grey has the defensive grunt and work ethic to fill the breach left by an injured Matt de Boer against the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on Sunday, according to former coach Luke Shackleton.

Grey, 18, was included in the Dockers' travelling party although he was later named as one of the emergencies for the Dogs battle.

He and Garrick Ibbotson were the players on standby.

But Colin Sylvia, who was also named in the 25-man squad on Thursday, will have to wait a little longer to make his Fremantle debut after he didn't make the flight east.

The club yesterday confirmed de Boer would miss up to six weeks after damaging the medial ligament in his left knee at training on Wednesday.

The injury has ended a durable run for the Fremantle leadership group member, who had previously missed just one match in the past two-and-a-half seasons.

Luke McPharlin was named at full-back in a strong sign he will be fit to return after a fortnight out with a quad injury.

Shackleton, senior coach at Tasmanian affiliate Burnie Dockers, watched Grey develop across three seasons at the club.

He said the hard-working midfielder had the physical muscle to be ready to step in at AFL level and was the type of role player that typically prospered under Lyon's coaching style.

"He had the leg speed from the get go," Shackleton said.

"He just worked hard on a few areas - his kicking and just running to the right spots. But he just had that natural ability and he worked very hard at it and he's reaping the reward.

"You give him a role to play and he'll fight tooth and nail to get that role done.

"He's a disciplined kid. He's got his head screwed on right, that's for sure. He's a very good tackler - he loves it."

Grey is coming off his best performance for the season with WAFL affiliate Peel Thunder.

He played as a defensive forward on dual Simpson medallist Ashton Hams a fortnight ago in Peel's first win for 2014 and restricted the former Eagle to 20 disposals.

The 2013 No.58 draft pick also kicked 2.3 to show his capacity to hurt rivals on the rebound.

Grey's inclusion for the AFL indigenous round would be fitting given his Aboriginal heritage.

The Western Bulldogs will make at least two changes to replace Clay Smith (shoulder) and Brett Goodes (omitted) after bringing five players into their expanded squad as they attempt to rally from four losses in their past five games.

Injury-prone Tom Williams was named at centre half- forward, with Mitch Wallis, Nathan Hrovat, Christian Howard and Jason Johannisen all added to a seven-man bench.

The West Australian

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