WEST Coast is sweating on the fitness of Nathan Vardy after the big man was taken from the field with a suspected adductor strain during Sunday's 29-point practice match loss to Fremantle at Lathlain Park.
Vardy collapsed after a ruck contest on the wing in the fourth quarter and was in some distress as he was helped to the bench by trainers.
The Eagles already have doubts over the availability of star ruckman Nic Naitanui and spearhead Josh Kennedy for round one, potentially leaving their tall stocks thin for the season opener against Sydney.
Vardy's injury soured an otherwise encouraging performance from an inexperienced West Coast line-up against a near full-strength Fremantle.
Livewire forwards Willie Rioli (two goals) and Liam Ryan (one) showed glimpses of their thrilling best, interspersed with some clangers, as they inspired the Eagles' fightback from 19 points down at half-time.
The Eagles closed to within a point during the third quarter but Fremantle pulled away in the final term, running out 12.14 (86) to 9.3 (57) winners.
The Dockers' three-pronged tall attack showed plenty of promise, with Cam McCarthy (three goals), Shane Kersten (two) and Matt Taberner finding a groove.
However, experienced goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne struggled before sitting out the second half.
Taberner took some strong marks pushing up the ground and also backed-up Aaron Sandilands in the ruck before the 211cm veteran was benched after half-time.
Sandilands and protégé Sean Darcy weren’t used in tandem in an indication coach Ross Lyon might not pick both big men for the round one trip to Port Adelaide.
Rookie-listed Bailey Banfield pushed his claims for a spot on the plane after another impressive display.
The mature-aged Claremont product booted three majors and attacked the contest with intent across half-forward.
Fremantle's star-studded midfield ensured the contest was on the Dockers' terms for most of the match.
With Sandilands wielding a huge influence, David Mundy, Michael Walters and Lachie Neale put the Eagles' defence under siege for long periods.
Superstar skipper Nat Fyfe, who was rested, and classy onballer Stephen Hill (calf) are still to return to Freo's engine room and were the only big names missing from the line-up on Sunday.
Star defender Jeremy McGovern (concussion), captain Shannon Hurn, Josh Kennedy (ankle), Nic Naitanui (knee), Luke Shuey, Andrew Gaff, Mark LeCras, Jack Darling and Jack Redden were all sidelined for West Coast.
The Eagles would have been pleased with the improved output of Jake Waterman and Daniel Venables after quiet games against the Power last Sunday.
Waterman slotted two goals and worked hard as a link-up forward, while Venables was explosive around the contest.
Competitive onballer Brayden Ainsworth impressed again, strengthening his chances of a round one debut.
Vardy aside, both teams appeared to escape unscathed. Liam Duggan was slow to his feet after a late hit from Brady Grey before half-time but played out the match.
Dockers young gun Connor Blakely had his right knee looked at during the second quarter but also returned for the second half.
FREMANTLE 5.5 7.9 9.11 12.14 (86)
WEST COAST 3.0 5.2 8.3 9.3 (57)
Fremantle: McCarthy 3, Banfield 3, Kersten 2, Walters, Wilson, Darcy, Matera
West Coast: Waterman 2, Rioli 2, Lycett, Yeo, Brander, Ryan, McInnes
Fremantle: Mundy, Neale, Wilson, Banfield, McCarthy, Sandilands, Pearce
West Coast: Yeo, Waterman, Lycett, Barrass, Vardy, Ainsworth
West Coast: Vardy (TBC)