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Watch out, Roos: Hogan to take a small step on road to R1

Freo speedster up and running Mitch Cleary and Riley Beveridge discuss Fremantle's pre-season.

BOOM Fremantle recruit Jesse Hogan is set to take another small but important step towards a blockbuster round one Dockers debut by lining up in an intraclub hitout this Friday.

AFL.com.au understands Hogan has been scheduled to play 60 to 70 per cent game time as he continues his promising comeback from a partial navicular stress fracture in his right foot. 

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It will give coach Ross Lyon the chance to oversee a new-look attack featuring Hogan working in tandem with fellow new arrival Rory Lobb and, most likely, re-signed workhorse Matt Taberner.

Lyon recently told AFL.com.au he is open to assembling a three-pronged tall forward line, despite the League trend heading towards smaller and nimbler set-ups.

Hogan's foot was a major talking point during the Dockers' tense trade negotiations with Melbourne last October after his career-best 47-goal season came to an end in round 21 against Sydney.

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The Dockers are being cautious not to rush their blue-chip investment, who has the match-winning talent to fill the void left since 700-goal club legend Matthew Pavlich's retirement in 2016.

 

However, Hogan, who booted 152 majors in 71 games for Melbourne, is understood to be feeling upbeat about his rehabilitation from the notoriously tricky navicular problem.

The 2015 NAB AFL Rising Star has impressed during recent match simulation, particularly when working his opponent up the ground and doubling back to find space, and shown no concerns with his foot.

If Hogan continues ticking boxes and is available for round one, Freo could seriously stretch North Melbourne's depleted and undersized backline at Optus Stadium.

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The Roos could be without three first-choice key backmen if gun Robbie Tarrant (shoulder) isn't available and joins Scott Thompson (suspension) and Majak Daw (hips/pelvis) on the sidelines, while potential replacement Sam Durdin (finger) is also ruled out.

Several Fremantle guns will be absent from Friday's intraclub, most notably superstar skipper Nat Fyfe who is involved in AFLX alongside wingman Bradley Hill and half-back Nathan Wilson at Marvel Stadium that evening.

Veteran ruckman Aaron Sandilands (calf), Stephen Hill (quad), Connor Blakely (hamstring) and Harley Bennell (calf) are among the players in rehabilitation.

Freo will have 10 days to recover from Friday's intraclub before the first JLT Community Series clash against Collingwood at Joondalup on March 4.

The Dockers then host crosstown rival West Coast six days later in Mandurah, leaving them two weeks to prepare for North Melbourne in the season-opener on Sunday, March 24.