Ross Lyon acknowledges his team must be aware of the possibility of a spike in performance from St Kilda on Saturday in the wake of club favourite Lenny Hayes retiring at the end of the season.
Hayes, 34, one of Lyon's favourite and most trusted leaders during his stint at the Saints, will quit the game just shy of the 300-game mark.
Lyon said emotion surrounding his announcement could affect St Kilda in one of two ways and the Dockers needed to be ready.
"I think there will be some emotion flowing down there," he said. "That can work to a negative, you can be over-emotional and it can flatten you out. It is something to be aware of, but we will just control what we do.
"We are going over there with a hard-nosed approach. We are not breathing out, we can't stop. We have got plenty of improvement in us and that is what we have spoken about."
Hayes won the Norm Smith Medal in the drawn grand final of 2010, was an All-Australian in 2009 and won St Kilda's best and fairest in 2010 during Lyon's reign.
"The concern is he is a great player and so we have to plan heavily for him this week," Lyon said. "We all come to the end. He has left nothing in the tank. My memory of Lenny is that he was a great leader, incredibly hard trainer and he played without restraint, without limitations.
"Regardless of the scoreboard, up or down, he played the same. He always found more to give.
"When things were desperate you could rely on Lenny, when everyone was fatigued or exhausted, to dig deep and find a bit more and that is really what separates the great players."
Lyon was confident that Luke McPharlin would recover from a calf injury in time to play at Etihad Stadium.
He said resting the veteran defender until after the bye would not be a consideration.
"We don't work like that," Lyon said. "If he is right to play, he will play and if he is not, he won't.
"He missed four weeks prior to Darwin, played in Darwin and missed last week. If he misses this week, with the bye it will be once in eight weeks - probably not ideal so we would like to get him moving and play.
"We are foot to the throat, we are not backing off."
Lyon named Matt de Boer and Hayden Crozier as possible replacements for the suspended Hayden Ballantyne. Anthony Morabito or Colin Sylvia could also be repositioned to cover for Ballantyne, he said.