Fremantle’s lively small forward Hayden Ballantyne will make his return to senior football this weekend against an old foe.
The Dockers travel to Simonds Stadium on Sunday to take on Geelong with the 141-gamer chomping at the bit to play in his first game in 2017.
Ballantyne’s original comeback attempt from his hamstring tendon injury resulted in a secondary breakdown while playing for Peel in a WAFL game a month ago. However, he is set to replace the injured Brady Grey in the senior line-up this weekend.
“I think he deserves that,” coach Ross Lyon said.
“We know how hard he trains. He really competes. There’s certainly plenty of opportunities there and it would be good to have his leadership as well.
“He’ll have to get through (training) today and Friday. But we think we’ll pick him.”
The out of contract forward has always enjoyed games against Cats, with Lyon refusing to comment on the 30-year-old’s future.
“His brand is one of energy and competing, and that’s why he’s sustained AFL football at a high level,” Lyon said.
“We value him. He loves the club. But at the end of the day it’s a profession. He needs to come to commercial terms.
“That’s (his contract) a back story that doesn’t involve me. Probably at some point it will, but it’s certainly not relevant at the minute.”
Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the height spectrum, Aaron Sandilands still has “to jump a few hurdles” before making the trip east.
Nat Fyfe’s form (battling a chest injury) isn’t of concern to Lyon either, saying he is happy with the way Fyfe is leading the team.
“There’s no doubt on him. Nathan hasn’t had any conversations to me about, ‘I’m sore’,” Lyon said.
“But clearly he’s had some bruising. But that’s all it is. There’s no fractures. There’s just been some bruising.
“It’s not something I’ve engaged in him with. And Nathan doesn’t like to make a fuss about it.
“I know he’s led us really well.”
Fremantle will look to keep pace with fellow top eight contenders with a win this week against the Cats.