Freo can cover in midfield
Freo can cover in midfield

Veteran captain Matthew Pavlich says Fremantle are more than comfortable with their depth heading into September.

The Dockers will field a below-strength midfield in their final two home-and-away games against Brisbane at the Gabba tomorrow and Port Adelaide at Patersons Stadium next Saturday due to the forced absence of Nat Fyfe (suspension) and Michael Barlow (thumb).

Pavlich conceded the pair would leave a significant hole in the line-up, but backed their replacements to step up.

"We've done pretty well this year at covering particular guys being out of the side," he said.

"I think that's been a strength of ours over the past couple of seasons, but it is a loss and hopefully we can fill those voids."

Garrick Ibbotson, Hayden Ballantyne and Nick Suban return tomorrow in place of Fyfe, Barlow and Max Duffy (omitted).

Pavlich said he had spoken to Fyfe about his mindset during the Hawthorn game, with the young star copping a two-match ban for striking Jordan Lewis off the ball.

"We trust Nathan implicitly with the way he goes about his footy," he said.

"I think what we'll see going forward is what we have seen for the majority of his career - a really disciplined ball player."

Pavlich enjoyed a stunning return to form against the Hawks, with a bag of five goals his best return since 2012.

He said it was nice to get back to somewhere near his best.

"It was nice to play my role and impact on the scoreboard against the Hawks," he said.

"Sometimes we get caught up in measuring players' performances just purely on goals.

"Whilst it was nice to impact on the scoreboard, the game has gone further than just one guy kicking a bag full of goals every week."

The 32-year-old has played all but one game this season, but doubted he would be rested before September.

He said he was managing issues with his body like any other player and had no concerns about playing consistently in the coming weeks.

"The body in general this year has been pretty good and I had the concussion against Carlton and then didn't have a great game against Geelong," Pavlich said.

"We sort of had the bye a couple of weeks ago and then I didn't really play much of the game against Carlton as it was.

"But, that said, when we want to get back to our very best form, having players miss doesn't allow that continuity and chemistry to occur.

"We've still got a bit of work to do to shore up our top-four position, so we need our best players out there every week."

Pavlich was wary of the Lions on the back of their thrashing of Collingwood last weekend.

Pavlich is an ambassador for the Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group's 'Legends at Your Local' program and has been appearing at WA pubs this season to encourage West Australians to enjoy sport socially at their local.

"It's all about enjoying responsibly and getting back to the local pub," he said.

"We've done pretty well this year at covering particular guys being out of the side." " *Matthew Pavlich *

The West Australian

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