Dockers urged to aid Crowley
Dockers training yesterday. Pic: Bill Hatto/WA News

Fremantle ruckman Aaron Sandilands admits the Dockers need to do more to help tagger Ryan Crowley as they prepare to renew hostilities with Geelong at Simonds Stadium on Saturday night.

Crowley has been a key to Fremantle's strong record against Geelong in recent years, regularly shutting out the Cats' most dangerous midfielder.

But Crowley was targeted for plenty of physical treatment by Carlton players as he tried to restrict their captain Marc Murphy in Fremantle's five-point win at Patersons Stadium last Thursday night.

Nick Graham received a reprimand from the match review panel for rough conduct against Crowley, while Murphy was cleared for elbowing him in the stomach.

"Ryan does a fantastic job for us so it's really important for us to help him out when he is getting targeted by other sides," Sandilands said.

"He is such a crucial player to us and he does a great job in shutting down the best players in the opposition."

Sandilands, 31, has also been a key factor in his side's recent victories, repeatedly monstering the Cats' ruck division.

In last year's qualifying final win he combined with understudy Zac Clarke for 50 hit-outs, compared with just 13 from Geelong's Nathan Vardy and Mark Blicavs, as Fremantle dominated the clearances 43-22.

In their 32-point round-nine win, Sandilands and Clarke beat Hamish McIntosh and Dawson Simpson 48-33 in the hit-outs for a 46-28 clearance edge.

But Sandilands said they were well aware they needed to improve their stoppage work after smashing the Blues in hit-outs but narrowly losing the clearances last round.

He said consecutive long breaks had given them time to work on the issue at training.

"We identified that in our review and we came up against some quality midfielders and a quality group," Sandilands said.

"We put some things in place and we were able to practice that (yesterday) and over the next couple of days and hopefully we can turn that around this weekend.

"We just want to go out and improve our footy.

"We know we haven't been at our best the last couple of weeks.

"We know we've got to play at our best for us to match it with those top-four sides."

Captain Matthew Pavlich jogged laps at Fremantle Oval yesterday and remains in doubt for the blockbuster clash after being concussed against Carlton.

Michael Walters trained strongly with the main group as the club weighs up whether to throw him straight back in against the Cats or ease the star forward back through the WAFL.

Tendai Mzungu (hamstring) has been ruled out for a fortnight, while Scott Gumbleton's ham- string injury will sideline him for the next three weeks.

Defender Alex Silvagni will front the WAFL tribunal tonight charged with rough conduct on Perth's Aidan Tropiano while playing for Peel.

The West Australian

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