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Sutcliffe to debut for Freo

Sportal July 6, 2012, 2:01 pm
Ross Lyon

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South Australian midfielder Cameron Sutcliffe will become Fremantle's fourth debutant this season against the Western Bulldogs on Sunday.

Dockers coach Ross Lyon confirmed the 20-year-old, who is in his first season, would make the cut after he was named on a seven-man interchange bench on Thursday.

Lyon said he was 'confident' Stephen Hill, who completed training on Friday, would play his first game in nearly a month, while he confirmed Kepler Bradley would play as a like-for-like replacement for the omitted Zac Clarke.

That leaves Paul Duffield, Nick Suban, Dylan Roberton, Lachie Neale and Michael Walters to battle for the final two spots, with Lyon saying the latter was 'in the mix' to make his first appearance of the season.

The coach said he was excited to see another debutant come into the team on the back of Lee Spurr, Hayden Crozier and Neale's maiden appearances and backed Sutcliffe, the 71st selection in the 2011 draft, to hold his own.

"He (Sutcliffe) was fantastic last week in the WAFL with 34 possessions. He's an elite runner and has worked really hard," Lyon said.

"There's some change and some real exciting young talent to come into the team, which we're pleased about.

"At this point it's been a productive draft in that they've commanded opportunities and they're really hard workers.

"We certainly think the future is bright, but we want to stay in the present and try to win lots of games of football."

Victory against the lowly Bulldogs is critical for the 13th-placed Dockers, who have slipped down the ladder with losses in five of their past six games.

Sunday's home clash begins a four-game block for Fremantle against sides below them - with Melbourne (Etihad Stadium), Greater Western Sydney (home) and Port Adelaide (AAMI Stadium) their other opponents.

But Lyon said it would be foolish to take the Bulldogs lightly as they have been competitive for much of the year.

"They're around the mark. They've still got some real match-winners in (Ryan) Griffen, (Brian) Lake, (Matthew) Boyd and (Daniel) Cross," he said.

"They're a fierce contested ball team and they've had some really good victories, but like any young team they've been up and down."

Meanwhile, Lyon confirmed Crozier had been diagnosed with glandular fever and would miss the rest of the season after playing three games.

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