The Fremantle Dockers have rejected a call to drop two of their older players by choosing Michael Johnson and Hayden Ballantyne for Sunday’s game against Collingwood.
The Dockers have implemented changes for Sunday’s game with Danyle Pearce omitted while Stephen Hill (quad) and Aaron Sandilands (concussion) are both seriously injured.
The Dockers will include seven extra players in their squad: Taylin Duman, Michael Apeness, Scott Jones, Mitchell Crowden, Stefan Giro, Shane Kersten and Tommy Sheridan.
AFL great Robert Walls said the Dockers were playing too many old players.
“Danyle Pearce was a very good player, but it’s gone past him. Michael Johnson was a very good player, it’s gone past him,” Walls told Fox Sports.
“Hayden Ballantyne, in my opinion, was never a very good player and how he’s getting a game now just staggers me.”
Fremantle Dockers’ coach Ross Lyon had said he would pick a younger team.
“We’re going to double down on what we’re doing. It was tough this week to leave (Mitch) Crowden out, but he needed a bit of freedom. We’ve got Taylin Duman who needs to play,” he said.
“I think it’s been balanced but we’ll probably skew it to a little bit unbalanced to keep the youth in and keep them going. Regardless of anything else around that, that needs to happen for the future of this club and we’re fully committed to that.”
“Regardless of any criticism or observations it’s the right thing to do and we feel we’re doing it.”
West Coast Eagles have made two changes for their match against the Saints at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.
Luke Shuey and Jackson Nelson will play while Dom Sheed (omitted) and Chris Masten (injured) will be out for Saturday’s game.