FREMANTLE coach Ross Lyon could roll the dice and recall ruckman Aaron Sandilands for his first game in more than a year in Saturday night's crucial 50th Western Derby.
In ideal timing for the Dockers, fellow big man Rory Lobb should also be available a month after a foot fracture looked likely to end his season.
Sandilands moved well at training on Tuesday, raising hopes he will play his first game since straining a calf in the warm-up before Fremantle's round 15 loss to Brisbane on July 1 last year.
Aaron Sandilands in the gym during pre-season training. Picture: AFL Photos
The 36-year-old battled more calf issues during pre-season before ramping up his on-field training workload recently.
"He's done a mountain of work on his rehab and comes to hand really quickly, so I think if he gets through to the last session he'll put his hand up for selection," Lyon told Channel Seven.
"It's opportune timing."
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Sandilands and Lobb's comebacks could have a twofold benefit of nullifying West Coast star Nic Naitanui and sidekick Tom Hickey while offering more marking power inside 50.
During consecutive two losses to bottom-three teams Melbourne and Carlton the Dockers have taken just six and seven marks in their attacking arc – their two worst returns this season.
Fremantle's first-choice tall forward line has been decimated, with Matt Taberner (foot) gone for the year and Jesse Hogan without a timeframe following his mid-foot sprain.
Jesse Hogan's absence has been keenly felt in the past two weeks. Picture: AFL Photos
Sandilands and Lobb, who impressed in the ruck before his injury, could put pressure on youngster Sean Darcy's position after he tired late against experienced big men Max Gawn and Matthew Kreuzer in the past two games.
Fremantle significantly lost clearances (27-12) and hitouts to advantage (-17) in final quarters in both those defeats, which left the Dockers clinging to eighth spot with a 7-7 record.
Lyon declared Lobb a "real chance" to face West Coast and conceded there would be risk bringing Sandilands back from injury as Freo attempts to end an eight-game losing streak against the Eagles.
"There's always a risk. We could certainly put him to Peel, there's no doubt about that and give him a run," Lyon said.
"I think Naitanui had a run in the seconds off an ACL, but I think we'll look at our whole situation, see how we are and just look at the whole mix really.
"Can we play three, two or one (rucks)? We'll just have a look at it, and availability is important."
Lobb and Stephen Hill (hamstring) completed individual rehab work at Cockburn on Tuesday.
Hill could attempt to relaunch his season after another soft-tissue problem in the round 17 trip to Launceston to face Hawthorn.