HAYDEN Ballantyne's teammates don't want him to change the way he plays despite the small forward incurring his third suspension in two years, Lachie Neale says.
Ballantyne accepted a two-match sanction for rough conduct on Geelong's Harry Taylor during the Dockers' 44-point win over the Cats last Sunday.
It is the seventh time in his 108-game career that Ballantyne has been suspended.
But Fremantle coach Ross Lyon said on Monday he fully supported Ballantyne's approach and Neale echoed his coach's comments on Tuesday.
"We love the way that Hayden plays," Neale said.
"He plays on the edge and you can see it all the time. He's a really physical guy and loves to be in the contest.
"It was just an unfortunate incident, I think.
"It's not disappointing. We're not angry at him. It's just unfortunate that he's not playing. He's probably more disappointed himself than anyone else."
Ballantyne is a huge loss as Fremantle faces a Western Derby this week followed by a clash with the Sydney Swans in round four.
The Dockers lost three of the four matches Ballantyne missed last season, including the semi-final against Port Adelaide. They did beat Hawthorn at home in round 21 without their All Australian forward.
Neale believes the club has the personnel to cover the loss of Ballantyne.
"We'd love him to play every week as he brings that manic pressure and obviously goal-scoring ability," Neale said.
"We've got guys that we think can come in and cover his role and there's plenty of guys putting their hand up as well. We're really comfortable that someone will come in and step up."
Hayden Crozier and Max Duffy are the two like-for-like replacements for Ballantyne's small forward role. Duffy gathered 22 disposals in the WAFL on Saturday but did not kick a goal, while Crozier kicked two goals in the WAFL the previous week but did not play on the weekend as he travelled to Geelong as an emergency.
Midfielder Tendai Mzungu is another who travelled to Geelong and did not play but he is raring to return.
Meanwhile, there is doubt surrounding the availability of ruckman Zac Clarke, who is suffering knee soreness and will need to pass a fitness test later in the week in order to face West Coast.
Neale did not know how Clarke had pulled up from the match against Geelong but he was confident the Dockers could cover him should he be ruled out.
"We've got competent guys coming in," Neale said.
"Jon Griffin and Jack Hannath and those sorts of guys can come in and play a role if need be. We've got Aaron (Sandilands) in there as well and he's been in really good for us in the first couple of weeks."