Dockers to again punt on youth - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dockers to again punt on youth

By Justin Chadwick 24/03/2011 08:45:11 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle are again banking on youth to bring them success, with a horror pre-season injury run leaving the Dockers light on for options ahead of their round one AFL clash with Brisbane at the Gabba.

Seven of Fremantle's first-choice 22 are unavailable for round one, with injuries to Roger Hayden, Anthony Morabito, Alex Silvagni, Michael Barlow, Garrick Ibbotson, Tendai Mzungu and Matt de Boer leaving the Dockers somewhat vulnerable.

To fill the gap, 18-year-old midfielder Jayden Pitt will make his AFL debut and defender Nick Lower will also be handed his first start for the Dockers after 20 games with Port Adelaide.

Fremantle blooded seven new players last year and coach Mark Harvey was confident he had the talent to cover the club's lengthy injury list.

"I think that's been the strength of the club really, to identify talent and then to develop them, whether it be our draft picks or our rookie picks," Harvey said on Thursday.

"So we've continued on in that vein.

"What we need to do is get them all together at the same time."

Pitt, a versatile midfielder from the Geelong Falcons who was recruited with pick No.20 in last year's national draft, hopes to make the most of his chance after impressing Harvey during the pre-season.

"Jayden was our first pick last year and he's got good poise and balance," Harvey said.

"He's played two games now, not full games (in the pre-season), and he's displayed an ability to be composed at this level.

"Therefore he's got a game.

"Young players always need to develop, but if they display maturity and composure then you certainly induct them into your team when you think it's right."

Harvey believed Lower, who was given a rookie lifeline after being de-listed by Port Adelaide at the end of 2009, was now a more determined player.

"I can't talk about what he was like at Port Adelaide, but the way he's gone about his business, he's fully understanding that he had to fight for a second chance and he's done that," Harvey said.

"We've seen him over a number of practice games and we've liked what we've seen.

"He's obviously learnt from his first opportunity of playing AFL and sometimes players come back better because of that reason on their second chance.

"We'd like to think that Nick will add to our midfield and our physical strength."

Lions skipper Jonathan Brown was named despite failing to play a game during the pre-season, while mature-age recruit Rohan Bewick and Ryan Lester will make their debuts.

"They've got their best side available I would have thought, other than (Josh) Drummond, so we're probably meeting them right at their peak," Harvey said of Brisbane.

"They've had an uninterrupted pre-season from an injury point of view so it's a tough challenge; it always is when you go over there."

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