The West

New club, same old stomping ground
Colin Sylvia. Pic: WA News

Colin Sylvia has played 81 games at the MCG in his 10-year career, but tomorrow's fixture against Richmond at the venue looms as among the most important after the high-profile free agent was finally named to make his Fremantle debut.

Sylvia crossed to the Dockers on a three-year deal at the end of last season, but has been made to earn his position in Ross Lyon's side after spending much of the summer building his fitness.

The 28-year-old's WAFL displays have been solid rather than spectacular, but the need to reshuffle the team after knee injuries to Michael Johnson and Luke McPharlin meant he and Alex Silvagni were named in the 22 yesterday.

Fremantle football manager Chris Bond said the club wasn't expecting miracles from the veteran utility player.

"We just expect Colin to continue to do what he's been doing," Bond told the club's website.

"He's trained really well over the last five or six weeks and his work rate in games has been really solid as well.

"That's all he needs to do, is continue to do that and he'll help contribute to the team."

Meanwhile, Richmond have taken a different approach in the lead-up, casting aside concerns about a six-day break with an old-school approach at training.

Comprehensively beaten in the contested-possession count in their past three losses to Melbourne, Essendon and North Melbourne, the Tigers began training yesterday with assistant coach Mark Williams screaming at players to keep fighting as they battled desperately for the ball in a confined ring of cones.

Other players competed for contested marks, while a third group was constantly chasing and tackling. The competitive element continued even when players were excused for a drink, Alex Rance and Jake Batchelor pushing and wrestling as they ran 60m to the boundary.

Clubs often give their players a light week when they have only six days to recover.

The Tigers have another six-day break next week, making it even more likely they'd have been wary of taxing their players at training.

Ty Vickery and Matt Thomas were unavailable due to suspension, but coach Damien Hardwick still dropped Ben Griffiths and Matt McDonough.

Former captain Chris Newman, Aaron Edwards, Dylan Grimes and Shaun Hampson were all recalled.

"We've just got to continue to work on the contested ball part of our game," Hardwick said.

The West Australian

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