Palmer on hand to return for Dockers - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Palmer on hand to return for Dockers

By Justin Chadwick 21/04/2010 07:06:23 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle coach Mark Harvey is remaining tight-lipped on whether midfielder Rhys Palmer will make his long-awaited AFL return in Sunday night's clash with Richmond at Subiaco Oval.

Palmer has not played an AFL fixture since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in round five last year.

But the 21-year-old has impressed during several recent WAFL hit-outs and also travelled to Melbourne last week as an emergency for Fremantle's loss to St Kilda.

Harvey said he wanted to be 100 per cent certain Palmer was ready to resume his AFL career before selecting him in the side.

"Just when you're coming back, I think if you look at perhaps a guy like (Carlton's) Jarrad Waite, he's come back after a knee, touch wasn't there ... and he suffered through selection," Harvey said.

"So you've got to be mindful that they've got to be right when they come back.

"If the game's gone up (in intensity), you've got to make sure that these guys coming off serious knee injuries are right up to the speed of where they need to be.

He's good ... that's the issue which is always the problem with Rhys, he thinks he's ready to go but we'll tell him when he's ready to go.

"He's getting close, he was an emergency last week ... it's not easy to get into the team at the moment either, so he knows that."

Harvey revealed Palmer's trip to Melbourne as an emergency was planned two months ago.

"We took him on the road last weekend, it wasn't necessarily just because of him being an emergency, it was more about football for him and what the game's all about," Harvey said.

"He still trained, he still actually physically trained over the weekend.

"He had match simulation ... he played an off-field game ... so he still had all that served up to him.

"Rhys will be under consideration (for selection) ... there are about five or six other players."

Fremantle (3-1 record) have been installed as raging $1.03 favourites by TAB Sportsbet to defeat win-less Richmond ($10).

But Harvey warned his team against complacency after Richmond overcame all the odds under then-coach Terry Wallace in round 10 last year to defeat the Dockers by three points at Subiaco Oval.

"I remember them copping a battering (the week before the) last time we played them, I remember Terry Wallace saying the best thing for them at the time was to get out of Melbourne and play and so we're on guard," Harvey said.

"You have a look at Richmond, they'll probably be bringing ... three of their most experienced players back into the team I imagine and some other changes, so this is going to be a tough game, yeah, that's how I see it."

Ben Cousins, Dean Polo and Luke McGuane are expected to return from club-imposed suspensions while Tigers captain Chris Newman (hamstring) and midfielder Nathan Foley (ankle) will also come under consideration.

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