Coach Ross Lyon says Fremantle need a scalp and there's no better time to take it than against reigning premiers Hawthorn at Patersons Stadium on Sunday.
"We'd like to get a scalp. We'd like to scalp the Hawthorn Football Club," Lyon said yesterday.
"But they're in a position where they need to keep winning as well, so it's going to be on."
Lyon said he was weighing up the right mix of players to "get into a footy war" with the ladder-leading Hawks.
The Dockers have not beaten Hawthorn under Lyon. Their last win was in the 2010 elimination final when Lyon was at St Kilda.
Lyon said playing four small forwards was a strong possibility, with Michael Walters joining Hayden Ballantyne, Hayden Crozier and Max Duffy who combined for seven goals in Fremantle's loss to Geelong last Saturday.
Walters would be playing for the first time since injuring an ankle against the Hawks in round three.
Lyon said it would be a tough week at selection with regulars Tendai Mzungu (hamstring) and Garrick Ibbotson (back) pushing hard for a recall and Alex Silvagni a candidate to replace injured veteran Luke McPharlin (calf).
"It's probably going to be as much about the balance of the team - how many small forwards can you play, what tall defenders do you need?" he said.
"When we get all that information hopefully we'll pick a really well-balanced team that is going to go and get into a footy war with Hawthorn."
Lyon conceded the Dockers were not playing as well as they were at the same time last season.
He said the effort was there but they weren't playing as smart as they had in the past.
"I wouldn't say we're as on top of our game as we were. We still, from here, have a real opportunity to build," Lyon said.
He rejected the idea that the absence of suspended Coleman Medal leader Jarryd Roughead would make Hawthorn less predictable.
"They've shown a great capacity to score and score heavily, regardless of what personnel goes into their roles," Lyon said.
"They've got a really strong system and it's hard to deal with. They're a very smart team."
Lyon said a win would be more important for ladder positioning than any psychological edge heading into September.
The Dockers have beaten a top- six side only once this season - in round nine against Geelong.
"At the end of the day it wouldn't matter who we're playing, we're after four points," Lyon said "They're a dual premiership team from 2008 to now and played in a losing grand final (in 2012).
"They're pretty handy and we're an emerging club and team that needs to get some scalps at the right time of the year."
Walters trained strongly at Fremantle Oval yesterday.
Mzungu and Ibbotson were also with the main group.
Michael Johnson, Zac Dawson, Ballantyne and Nick Suban ran laps away from their teammates and Lee Spurr was on light duties.
Midfielder Stephen Hill was absent from the session.
"We'd like to get a scalp. We'd like to scalp the Hawthorn Football Club." " *Ross Lyon *