The West

Fyfe Freo s trump card in finals
Fyfe Freo's trump card in finals

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says Nat Fyfe has set himself for a big finals series and predicted Sydney would not target the star despite the aggression that led to his latest suspension.

Fyfe's return from a two-match ban in Saturday's qualifying final at ANZ Stadium has been offset by the loss of key defender Michael Johnson, with the TAB yesterday winding the Dockers out to $2.65 outsiders to pull off an upset against the league leaders. Sydney were $1.50 favourites.

Fyfe is no stranger to the big stage, amassing 28 disposals in last year's losing grand final against Hawthorn.

Fremantle are expected to carefully manage Aaron Sandilands this week. Lyon said the ruckman would play despite appearing sore during Saturday's crunch win over Port Adelaide.

Sandilands, Matthew Pavlich, Michael Barlow, Nick Suban and Cameron Sutcliffe were missing from light training at Fremantle Oval yesterday.

Alex Silvagni did not appear, but Lyon said the full-back was a certainty to line up against Sydney in the absence of Johnson and Luke McPharlin.

Lyon said 22-year-old Fyfe was "fresh" and physically primed for his third consecutive finals campaign.

"He won't be sore," Lyon said.

"He plays a very physical game. We've been able to put a lot of work into him.

"He has been in my office two or three times over that period just talking about how keen he is.

"He has set himself for finals football and we're thrilled to have him back."

Fyfe was tagged by Hawthorn's Will Langford in the round-21 clash and responded with a high hit on Jordan Lewis that led to his suspension. He also gave away three free kicks and a 50m penalty in the first term.

Asked if Fyfe would be targeted this weekend, Lyon said: "I don't think much targeting happens in AFL football, to be truthful.

"I think he had a moment of aggression that was misplaced and he knows that.

"Both sides have got plenty to play for. I don't think there will be too much garbage dished up from two top-four teams. They'll be attacking the ball and attacking the man in the right manner."

Dockers tagger Ryan Crowley will be aiming the crosshairs at one Swan this week, but yesterday Kieren Jack said he would relish the chance to atone for being taunted, humiliated and beaten by the feisty Docker in last year's preliminary final.

Crowley, who yapped in Jack's ear all match and mocked the Swan for ducking his head, helped himself to 22 possessions, five tackles and a goal as Freo reached their first grand final.

"Oh yeah, I'll take any chance to go at him and try to beat him," Jack said yesterday.

"He's a niggly sort of player and he tries to get under your skin a fair bit, like a few of their players, but you can't be distracted by it and can't let it get yourself off your own game.

"If he comes to you, you know you're going to be in for a tough day and you have to work hard to get on top. But you also need some help. Whoever he goes to, we'll look to help that player out."

Jack said Sydney owed the Dockers for that preliminary final embarrassment.

"They ambushed us in that first half," Jack said.

"It was a hostile environment, the crowd was going nuts. It was intimidating. We need to get one back and we hope that our crowd can create a similar sort of environment."

Lyon said Fremantle would not train on ANZ Stadium before the qualifying final, but stressed he had "not one iota" of concern about playing on the ground's shifting surface.

He described Saturday's match as a big challenge against an opposition he described as the "complete team", saying Sydney's improved youth, including Luke Parker, Harry Cunningham and Jake Lloyd, had made them a better side this year.

Pavlich declared himself fit for the finals but said having Matt Taberner as another tall target up forward had taken some of the burden off him.

Fremantle have won their past two interstate finals in the first week of September, both against Geelong.

"It's not as if you roll up to the first week of the finals and you're not sure what to do," Pavlich said.

"We've been doing it for a long time and that's where we draw confidence from."

Hayden Ballantyne, Stephen Hill and Michael Walters jogged laps together at training yesterday, while Zac Dawson, Lee Spurr, Paul Duffield, Tendai Mzungu and Clancee Pearce were also on light duties.

The West Australian

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