Fremantle defender Nathan Wilson is confident Rory Lobb will be fit to play in Saturday’s clash against the second-place Collingwood.
Concerns were raised around Lobb’s fitness after suffering a minor blow to his right ankle during last week’s one-point win over Brisbane.
Wilson said Lobb would face the task of taking on in-form ruckman Brodie Grundy.
“It’s exciting, Rory will be fine and ready to go,” he said.
“He’s a big-time player, he’s played in a few prelims and finals so I reckon he can take the challenge of Brodie Grundy.”
Wilson said he’s impressed with Lobb’s performance in big games, but said it isn’t just up to Lobb to perform.
“[Grundy] is a big runner so it’s going to be a big task, but it’s not just going to be Lobb it’ll be a whole team focus… we can’t just leave it to one player.”
In Ross Lyon’s press conference last night, he addressed Sean Darcy’s quick recovery from his ankle injury, saying he’s confident Darcy is a chance for selection this weekend to help Lobb in the ruck.
“Clearly if they’ve moved him along from four to six weeks [recovery time] to a test [this week], he’s made good progression in rehab,” he said.
“He’s no guarantee, but he certainly improved significantly and it’s been due to the work both he and Marshall [Stockton] have put in.”
Wilson said he also expected to see Joel Hamling play a key defensive role on star Magpie Jordan de Goey, if he returned from injury in time for the game.
De Goey kicked 19 goals in the first eight games of the 2019 season, before being troubled with a shin injury.
Wilson said he was pleased with Hamling’s role last week on Brisbane key forward Charlie Cameron, keeping Cameron to only two minor scores after kicking three goals in the opening quarter.
“Last week, Charlie Cameron got on top of us, so ‘Hammo’ went back to him and sort of got the job done,” he said.
“I reckon Joel does [play best in the last line of defence] and we’ve seen that the past couple of weeks.”
Forward Jesse Hogan, who was traded from Melbourne at the end of last year, wasn’t able to get a kick in last week’s game and only managed eight possessions.
Lyon’s defended Hogan’s performance, saying it was a huge effort for him to even be fit to play in round one, after coming to Fremantle while still recovering from a serious foot injury.
“He had a navicular [injury] where we thought we mightn’t see him until the middle of the year,” he said.
“He hasn’t actually been able to play at the exact tempo and run [he’s capable of].
“[But] he’s found a way to have five or six shots on goal when he’s not even near his full capacity.”
Wilson said it was also up to the players to help Hogan to perform better, with poor forward entries playing a part in his struggles.
“It’s a hard one because when [you] first come to the club, you have to change the way you play because you’re obviously playing with different players,” he said.
“He’s come into a forward line that’s young – Brennan Cox and himself have probably played five or six games together, and we had Cam McCarthy in there at the start of the year.
“It’s obviously going to be tough as a forward, but we have to deliver the ball a bit better inside 50… the connection [is what] we need to work on out on the track and I think we’re doing that.”
Fremantle head into Saturday’s game at the MCG off five wins and five losses, and Wilson hopes the team will bring their form from last week’s win.
“[Collingwood are] a benchmark team, very close to being the premiers from last year and to play at the ‘G’ is a big challenge,” he said.
“We want to play like we do at Optus when we’re here and we need to take that form away.”