Anthony Morabito's future at Fremantle beyond this season is unclear after the luckless midfielder was again overlooked in the side named to face Brisbane at Patersons Stadium tomorrow night.
Morabito had been expected to play his first game for the Dockers since 2010 against the Lions, but wasn't even named as an emergency.
The West Australian understands the 22-year-old, who signed a one-year contract extension late last season, has become increasingly frustrated at the lack of opportunity in recent weeks and has so far declined to enter discussions regarding a new deal.
The 2009 No.4 draft pick has had three knee reconstructions, but has played all but one game for Peel in the WAFL this season.
A 28-disposal, three-goal performance against East Fremantle a fortnight ago seemed to open the door for his return to AFL ranks, but he was overlooked at the selection table in favour of free-agency recruit Colin Sylvia.
Sylvia went on to gather three disposals as the substitute in a win against Richmond last Saturday.
The Dockers have made just one change to the side which beat the Tigers last week, Clancee Pearce included at the expense of midfielder Tom Sheridan.
Pearce was the travelling emergency against the Tigers.
Lions premiership forward Jonathan Brown was ruled out early yesterday after he was concussed in the loss to Greater Western Sydney.
Full-back Daniel Merrett returns and West Australian midfielder Nick Robertson and Tom Cutler were included for James Aish (rested) and Mitch Golby (omitted).
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon was glowing in his praise of Morabito a fortnight ago but was far more measured when speaking about his chances of selection earlier this week.
"If it's the right thing, he'll come in, if not, he won't," Lyon said.
"All the players are keen, we're keen, but at the end of the day it's about picking the best team.
"His time will come. We all want it to happen.
"The context is he's missed three years of footy, he's played 10 games in three years. That's a fair bit of conditioning off significant rehabilitation that he has to make up.
"He's making the ground quickly, he's certainly starting to have output that entitles him to play some AFL footy. But he's still in a building phase."
The Dockers would be unlikely to unleash Morabito in next week's western derby, meaning his next opportunity to break into the line-up would be the round-16 game against Melbourne in Darwin.
The Lions' bid for a rare hat-trick of victories ended in disappointing fashion against the Giants, who rallied from a 20-point deficit just before half-time to win running away.
The absence of Brown deprives the Lions of a genuine focal point, a real concern for coach Justin Leppitsch given Brisbane were restricted to just six goals in the corresponding match last season and five in 2012.
Both games were played under the methodical defensive game plan implemented by Lyon.