FREMANTLE captain Matthew Pavlich will have his playing return delayed by one week, missing Saturday night's NAB Cup match against Carlton as he prepares for the birth of his first child.
Pavlich, who underwent back, hip and Achilles tendon surgery during the off-season, declared himself ready to return earlier this week, but coach Ross Lyon said he would not be making the trip to Etihad Stadium.
Lyon said his star goalkicker would risk missing the birth by flying east, with wife Lauren due to have their first baby any day, and it was an easy call to make.
"If they need to be there they should be there. I don't think it is a decision," Lyon said on Wednesday morning.
"We're really respectful of people's families and wives and the support that needs to be given there.
"I think the game's evolved a lot. Fathers didn't used to go to the birth, did they? So how tragic did that used to be.
"We've all moved a little bit forward from those days fortunately."
Lyon said midfielder Michael Barlow would be rested on Saturday night after an impressive start to the NAB Cup, while Stephen Hill will sit out as a precaution after an arm complaint against Adelaide last Saturday.
"It was innocuous, he's fine, but we're better off backing him off for a week or two. Certainly there's no damage," Lyon said of Hill.
Michael Walters will definitely play after being cleared of any damage to an ankle, while key midfielders David Mundy and Nat Fyfe will remain in the team after making their playing returns against the Crows.
In encouraging news for the club, midfielder Anthony Morabito is about four weeks away from resuming full training after undergoing LARS surgery on his injured left knee.
"I don't know whether it's ahead [of schedule], I don't think it's behind," Lyon said.
"He's just right on track. Probably round one AFL he'll be introduced to full training."
Lyon said second-year players Hayden Crozier, Tom Sheridan, Cam Sutcliffe and Lachie Neale would continue to build experience through the NAB Cup and push for a spot in Fremantle's round one team.
He highlighted the form of young Tasmanian Jesse Crichton, who fought his way back onto Fremantle's list through the NAB AFL Pre-season Draft after being delisted at the end of last season.
"At some point people realise they have to get a move on and invest in themselves," Lyon said.
"Clearly Clancee (Pearce) did that last year, and Ryan Crowley did that.
"Jesse Crichton and Nick Suban are in a similar vein.
"It gives you an opportunity to get picked and then you need to perform. That's where Jesse and Nick sit at this point."
Matthew Pavlich is a forward in NAB AFL Fantasy. He averaged 95 points in 2012. Register your team at our AFL Fantasy Hub.
Nathan Schmook is a reporter for AFL Media. Follow him on Twitter: @AFL_Nathan