FREMANTLE will consider giving midfielder James Aish the task of clamping Brisbane Brownlow medallist Lachie Neale in Sunday's top-four showdown at Optus Stadium after the versatile Docker played a key lock-down role against Melbourne. 

Aish was instrumental in Fremantle's stirring win against the reigning premier at the MCG in round 11, holding red-hot midfielder Clayton Oliver to just 12 disposals after being moved onto him after half-time.

Neale sits second to Oliver in the AFL Coaches Association's AFL Champion Player Award and is averaging 32.1 disposals this season (ranked No.5 in the AFL), with the former Docker coming off a 39-disposal, two-goal game against Greater Western Sydney.

Lachie Neale celebrates a goal during Brisbane's clash with Greater Western Sydney in round 11, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

The Dockers' midfield is in good shape, coming off its clearance and contested ball beating of the Demons, but Longmuir conceded Neale was a player the Dockers needed to consider tagging this week.

"We’ll definitely look at it … it’s something we’ll discuss pretty heavily this afternoon," the coach said on Thursday.

Neale has only faced the Dockers twice since crossing to the Lions at the end of the 2018 season, missing both clashes last season, including the Lions' 64-point win in round 21 because of illness.

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Longmuir said that match at Optus Stadium, which took the Dockers' finals hopes out of their hands and saw them lose the tackle count 71-35, had taught the team some valuable lessons.

"We learned that we need to be better at the contest and we need a big summer in the gym to match their big bodies all over the ground," the coach said.  

"I feel like we've improved in that area, our contest work is in good order, and we're ready for the challenge.

"Brisbane has clearly got some strengths all over the ground and play an exciting brand of footy. High-scoring, high-contest, so there's lots of areas of our game that will need to be at their best."

Key forward Matt Taberner is "touch and go" for Sunday's anticipated clash after experiencing back spasms against Melbourne, with the spearhead progressing to straight-line running on Thursday after a slow start to the week.

Matt Taberner looks on after the round 11 clash between Fremantle and Melbourne at the MCG on May 28, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Captain Nat Fyfe won't play after making the decision to return through the WAFL on Saturday after a 10-month lay-off following shoulder and back operations.

Fyfe will line-up for Peel Thunder against Subiaco, with Longmuir tight-lipped on how the dual Brownlow medallist will split his time in the match, which will be streamed on and the AFL Live App from 2.10pm AWST.

"We've worked it out, but I'm under strict guidance from Geoff Valentine, our Peel Thunder coach, not to let too much out of the bag," the coach said.  

"He doesn't want to give 'Subi' too much of a head start … but he'll play a split.

"Hopefully he gets through it really well, he gains confidence in his body and his game, and we’ll consider him for selection next week."

Nat Fyfe at a Fremantle training session in 2022. Picture:

In response to criticism of the decision for Fyfe to play in the WAFL, Longmuir said Fyfe knew his body best and needed to take a path that best set him up for the second half of the season.

"I understand the criticism that some may have of it, but we think internally we have the most knowledge of the situation," Longmuir said.

"It's pretty hard in season to replicate matches at training because the players who are playing do minimal load, and when you’re in rehab it’s hard to manufacture that game-like training.

"So we just think it’s a really good progression to be able to manage his minutes."