FREMANTLE coach Justin Longmuir has dismissed the prospect of Stephen Hill retiring just so the club can snare a player at the AFL's mid-season draft.
Hill has been plagued by soft-tissue injuries over the past three years and is sidelined with a long-term hamstring issue.
The soon-to-be 31-year-old is contracted until the end of this year, but there has been external debate about whether he should retire now so Fremantle can recruit a player in the mid-season draft.
Longmuir is adamant that won't happen, and is optimistic the 218-game veteran will return to AFL ranks this year.
"He's had some hamstring issues, some soft tissue injuries that he's had in the past. We feel like we're on the right track with that," he said.
"He's had a really slow three-week build to be able to reach the period he's at now, and now we'll be able to ramp it up a little bit quicker.
"He's got about six weeks ahead of him of work on the track to be able to get himself ready for matches and we're really confident if he can keep ticking off the boxes he'll play some footy for us this year."
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Longmuir will keep faith in rookie forward Josh Treacy for Saturday night's home clash with North Melbourne despite the 18-year-old's slow start to his AFL career.
Treacy is goalless in his two games, and he tallied just five disposals in last week's win over Adelaide.
The powerful forward's presence has at least taken some of the attention away from Matt Taberner, and Longmuir is a fan of the combination.
"We'll back him in," Longmuir said.
"He missed some opportunities last week, his leading patterns could have been a bit better to create more opportunities.
"But it was always going to be a slow burn for Josh. He's coming from a fair way back, didn't play a lot of footy last year with the COVID situation in Victoria.
"I think sometimes when you're playing with some senior players, playing at AFL level, you need to come outside of yourself and demand the footy a little bit more.
"Hopefully he can lead with a bit more authority and demand the footy a bit more."
Emerging midfield star Adam Cerra will miss up to four weeks with a syndesmosis injury, paving the way for Mitch Crowden to come into the 22 after being the medical sub against the Crows.
The winless Kangaroos are expected to welcome back Luke Davies-Uniacke (calf) and Cam Zurhaar (concussion).