FREMANTLE coach Ross Lyon wants out-of-contract veteran Hayden Ballantyne to continue his career in purple next season.

There has been ongoing speculation about the feisty small forward's future, with the 30-year-old appearing to be playing for his career since his comeback from hamstring tendon surgery.

But Lyon has thrown his support behind Ballantyne to help chart the path through the Dockers' rebuild in 2018.

"My position is I really value Hayden Ballantyne – so that's a pretty strong endorsement for Hayden," Lyon said.

"You need senior players with great character and work ethic to bring your young players through, like Aaron Sandilands, like (Luke) McPharlin and (Matthew) Pavlich did for (Nat) Fyfe an (Stephen) Hill and, well, Ballantyne.

"That's what you really need and hopefully Hayden can be a part of that."

Ballantyne made a strong return from injury against Geelong and St Kilda in rounds 14 and 15, picking up 14 touches and booting two goals in both games.

But his form has tailed away. He made several blues in last round's error-riddled Western Derby, and has had just 12 disposals and kicked one goal in his past two appearances.

While there has been speculation Fremantle could target Gold Coast small forward Brandon Matera for a trade back to WA, Lyon is confident Ballantyne still has plenty to offer this season and beyond.

"I think in the context of his limited preparation over a period of time with a significant tendon injury, he's really just completed a pre-season," Lyon said.

"I think he's ready to pop over the ensuing games of the season.

"His spot's not in doubt."

The Dockers' attack frustrated fans in the derby, with Freo unable to capitalise on 57 forward 50 entries and booting 5.14.

Lyon has refused to blame his forward line, and has publicly backed recruit Shane Kersten, but there could be changes this round.

Spearhead Cam McCarthy is available to face Hawthorn at home on Saturday night after serving a two-game ban, while tall Matt Taberner has kicked 11 goals in his past two WAFL appearances.

"Certainly Matthew Taberner has been whacking away strongly below and Cam is fit and available to be picked," Lyon said.

"No one is guaranteed, no one has got a golden ticket.

"We didn't kick the goals we should've, we need to have a good look at that."

Lyon declared star onballer Stephen Hill would be fit to face the Hawks after hurting his shoulder in the derby.

No date has been planned for Harley Bennell's AFL return but he will play for Peel again this week after pulling up well from his comeback game.

"I felt a bit physically ill watching it because the history of it (his calves) going out of nowhere," Lyon said.

"I think I'll be like that for a while and Harley will be, but we are building.

"We're not going to throw him to the wolves."

Meanwhile, second-year midfielder Harley Balic's future at Freo remains up in the air.

Balic has returned to Melbourne on indefinite personal leave after a hamstring setback at training last week.

The 20-year-old, who also took leave in May for a personal issue, is out of contract at season's end.

"Our support is still wrapped around Harley," Lyon said.

"I've got a wonderful relationship with him, he's very transparent with me and shares how he's feeling and the challenges.

"We'll all sit down together and work out what's best for Harley, primarily, and the club as well."