Fremantle will contest Nat Fyfe’s two-match ban for striking in the hope of having their star midfielder available for the final-round showdown with Port Adelaide in Perth.
Fyfe’s legal team failed in their bid to have the 22-year-old’s suspension for striking Jordan Lewis reduced to one week at the Tribunal on Tuesday night.
But the Dockers will try their luck again at the AFL Appeals Board on Thursday night with what they described as a “fresh challenge”.
On Tuesday, Fyfe’s legal team argued that the midfielder’s off-the-ball hit on Lewis was reckless rather than intentional and the ban should be downgraded to one match accordingly.
But it was to no avail.
It’s unclear what tactics the Dockers have up their sleeve for the appeal.
If Fyfe fails to have the charge overturned, he will miss games against Brisbane and Port.
He’ll also have 76.25 carryover points hanging over his head for the next 12 months, plus a 40 per cent bad-record loading until early next season.
The Dockers sit just one win clear of the fifth-placed Power, meaning the round-23 showdown between the two sides is likely to decide who finishes fourth and earns the double finals chance.
Fyfe has already been suspended for four matches since the start of last year, and coach Ross Lyon says the West Australian needs to become smarter to avoid getting into trouble on the football field.
“It’s just that competitive spirit,” Lyon said on Wednesday.
“It’s about harnessing it in the right way.
“In the heat of the moment, it doesn’t take much to go wrong to find yourself in trouble.
“I’ve got no real concerns there. Nathan’s an incredibly intelligent guy, focused firmly on team success, and I’m sure he’ll get the balance right.
“I think what gets lost with Nathan is he’s (only) 22. But he’s a real emerging leader of this football club.
“He’s a really big influencer on and off the field and he’s a pleasure to coach.”
The Dockers will also be without Michael Barlow for Sunday’s clash with Brisbane at the Gabba, the star onballer breaking his left thumb last week.
“It’s not ideal,” Lyon said of the loss of both Barlow and Fyfe.
“Straight away, you lose 60 possessions and a couple of goals.”
Goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne is set to return after missing a week with a hamstring injury, while Anthony Morabito, Nick Suban, Matt de Boer and Garrick Ibbotson are others in line for a recall.
Defender Luke McPharlin (calf) is still at least three weeks away from resuming, meaning he’ll miss the first week of the finals and could struggle to force his way back into the side.