Pavlich doubt for Dockers shoot-out
Matthew Pavlich. Pic: Michael Wilson/WA News

Fremantle captain Matthew Pavlich is in doubt for Saturday's top-four showdown with Port Adelaide after withdrawing from yesterday's win over Brisbane with a quad injury.

Pavlich travelled to Queens- land, warmed up with the team and was named to play but pulled out just before the start of the match.

Even in his absence, the Dockers proved too efficient for the Lions, winning 15.16 (106) to 6.12 (48) to regain the fourth position taken from them on Friday night by Port Adelaide after their 103-point demolition of Carlton.

The Dockers are four points ahead of the Power and will secure a double chance in the finals which start the following week by beating them at Patersons Stadium. But they will be sweating on Pavlich's availability, given they are already without Nat Fyfe (suspended), Michael Barlow (thumb) and Luke McPharlin (calf).

Coach Ross Lyon said Pavlich, who flew back with his teammates last night, would be assessed early in the week.

"They'll have to do an investigation," Lyon said.

"He just tightened up in the quad. Hopefully they'll do some investigations and more stuff will come to light."

Lyon said defender Lee Spurr had been substituted out as a precaution with a tight quad.

Fremantle's forward line again showed it was capable of doing damage in September, topping 100 points without Pavlich.

Hayden Ballantyne and Michael Walters combined for 6.6 in just their third full game together for the year.

Lyon said he was excited about the pairing.

"I think Sonny (Walters) will only get better. I think you'll see him play better next week to be truthful," he said.

"And Ballas, I thought he was really good. He always struggles off one week off so he should be better again."

The Dockers have only six days to prepare for the hard-running Port, who have returned to form in the past three weeks.

It appears certain the winner will play Sydney in the first qualifying final. The loser will finish fifth and host a final, and there is a prospect of a local blockbuster because West Coast are battling Adelaide, Richmond and Collingwood for the last spot in the eight.

Lyon said the Dockers were looking forward to playing for the double chance.

"It is sudden-death for top four next week. We're really thrilled with that," Lyon said.

"We're excited by the challenge, we accept the challenge, as Port do. It will generate a lot of interest, it's at our home ground, they're going to ask us a lot of questions of us and we're going to ask some serious questions of them. It's really game on from here.

"They're clearly in impressive form - 20.20 and they had 30 shots off turnovers. Hopefully we don't turn the ball over as much and get scored against as much.

"But they're a real threat. You don't sneak your way into top four. You've got to win your way. We're excited by that."

The West Australian

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