Josh Treacy celebrates a goal during Fremantle's clash against Melbourne in round 11, 2023. Picture: Getty Images

FREMANTLE appears unlikely to call in ruck reinforcements to support young star Luke Jackson against Richmond, with the club confident key forward Josh Treacy can step in to fill the void left by injured big man Sean Darcy. 

The Dockers will be without their No.1 ruckman against the Tigers at Optus Stadium after the in-form Darcy suffered a hamstring injury against Melbourne ahead of last week's bye.  

Coach Justin Longmuir said he had confidence in Treacy to support Jackson, who stepped up after Darcy's injury to star against the Demons' ruck duo of Max Gawn and Brodie Grundy. 

"I think we'll probably start in the ruck a similar way to how we finished against Melbourne," Longmuir said on Wednesday. 

"'JT' has done a fair bit of work at Peel on his ruck craft and we've tried to get him taking a few more forward 50 ruck stoppages as a way in to being a second ruck if we needed it.

Josh Treacy contests the ruck against Max Gawn during Fremantle's clash against Melbourne in round 11, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

"It looks like we'll need it, so I've got no real issues with him being the second ruck and being capable of filling that role."

The need for Jackson and Treacy to spend more time in the ruck will lead to a tricky selection week for the Dockers as they emerge from the bye and look to extend a four-game winning run. 

Longmuir said the team was keeping an eye on the forecast wet conditions, with small forward Michael Walters a likely inclusion after training on Wednesday and recovering from a calf injury.   

Round 11 substitute Sam Sturt could also be called on as a forward option, while the Dockers will need to address their midfield after Jaeger O'Meara was suspended for one match. 

O'Meara has been among the leading stoppage players for Fremantle this season, ranking No.3 for clearances (55) and centre clearances (22) and attending 17 centre bounces against Melbourne. 


Dual Brownlow medallist Nat Fyfe (12 centre bounces against the Demons) and young midfielder Matt Johnson (eight) are considered the leading options to fill the void.

Big-bodied onballer Will Brodie (30 disposals in the WAFL), who has not featured at AFL level since round seven, and the hard-tackling Neil Erasmus (25) are options from WAFL level. 

"We've got a lot of options for that role. There's been a lot of good form at Peel with inside and outside mids, and we've got flexibility in our team as well," Longmuir said. 

"We like the split he (Fyfe) is playing and we've got (James) Aish on the wing who has been a good centre bounce player for us. Johnson is in the team and we want to get him more midfield minutes." 

Nat Fyfe in action during Walyalup's match against Geelong at Optus Stadium in round 10, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

The Dockers entered last week's bye with significant momentum after wins against Melbourne, Geelong, Sydney and Hawthorn, which lifted them from 14th on the ladder to now sit equal on points with eighth-placed Geelong and with a game in hand. 

Longmuir said the challenge of sustaining that momentum after the bye was a mental one, but he was not concerned after observing the players this week.   

"We had a really solid session on Saturday and they applied themselves really well," the coach said. 

"This week is a normal week and we need to make sure we don't take our foot off the gas and we maintain the rage from the last four weeks. That's front of mind for everyone. 

"It's probably more of a mental challenge. Giving everyone a few days off, you take a bit of a lull in your mindset and you can be a bit soft getting back into your work. 

Justin Longmuir looks on during the R10 match between Walyalup and Geelong at Optus Stadium on May 20, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

"We made sure Saturday we got back on the horse, and they've hit the ground running this week, so I'm not concerned about that."

Longmuir said midfielder Caleb Serong, who missed Saturday's session with a minor ankle issue, was good to go this week, with the young star training with the group on Wednesday. 

Key forward Jye Amiss is also ready for the Tigers after missing the weekend session due to load management. 

Captain Alex Pearce was on light duties on Wednesday, while Darcy and young defender Heath Chapman (hamstring) continued their rehabilitation. Key forward Matt Taberner, who jogged laps as he recovers from a serious back injury, remains without a timeline for his return.