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Docker great has a message for Ross and Freo

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon and club great Matthew Pavlich - AFL,Fremantle Dockers,Matthew Pavlich
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon and club great Matthew Pavlich

FREMANTLE great Matthew Pavlich has declared finals should be back in the club's sights next season after a three-year September hiatus.  

The Dockers hurtled towards a full-scale rebuild during Pavlich's final season in 2016, when they plummeted from minor premiers to a 0-10 start and eventual 16th-placed finish.  

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Only 14 players remain on the list from that campaign and 10 new faces have arrived this off-season – four from rival clubs and six draftees.

Boom recruits Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb are set to transform the forward line, while Reece Conca and Travis Colyer add experience, and retired 700-goal legend Pavlich believes the pieces are in place for Fremantle to climb the ladder.   

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"Think about Matt Taberner and Brennan Cox, they're going to have to fight really hard for their spots in the team, along with Rory and Jesse and a few others down there (in attack)," Pavlich said as he handed over new jumpers to Fremantle's draftees.

"It makes it competitive and I think that's really healthy. 

"I think they've (Fremantle) done as well as they could during the Trade Period. I haven't seen these guys (draftees) play, but it sounds like they're very happy with how they went throughout the drafting period as well.

"The thing is now it's all about hard work."

Pavlich was a vocal critic of the Dockers after they slumped to a club record 133-point belting from Geelong in round 22 last season, calling for a review of key on-and-off-field positions at the club. 

The Cats defeat was the low point in a rollercoaster campaign when Freo won eight matches but lost nine games by 50 points or more. 

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The silver lining was that the youthful Dockers started to bed-down their best 22 and pumped games into the next generation, and Pavlich believed Fremantle should be pushing for finals next year.  

"I think they should be, yeah," the 353-game champion said. 

"I think they can (bounce up the ladder quickly). Even last year there was small improvements.  

"With injuries and various things, they were able to get a good amount of time into these younger players to really improve.  

"But AFL is a tricky and really hard business, they're going to have to work incredibly hard to get back up there, but it's possible."

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