Fremantle forward Matt Taberner is pleading his case for a recall for Saturday night’s AFL semi-final against Collingwood, but his dreams are set to be crushed for a second straight week.
Taberner, who injured his calf in round 21, was overlooked for selection for last week’s 13-point elimination final win over the Western Bulldogs.
Instead, he made his return from injury in the WAFL, where he booted 2.2 and took four marks from 13 disposals in Peel Thunder’s 92-point win over Swan Districts.
Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir has already publicly declared that two-game teenager Jye Amiss will be selected again following his two-goal display against the Bulldogs.
Rory Lobb is a lock up forward, meaning Taberner’s only chance of a recall is if the Dockers decide to drop swingman Griffin Logue.
Logue tallied just eight disposals against the Bulldogs, and his sole goal came courtesy of a 50m penalty.
But his versatility and ability to provide a contest have proven crucial for Fremantle this season.
Taberner has been subbed out of three games this season due to injury, but Longmuir hasn’t ruled out a return for the 29-year-old spearhead completely.
“Yeah he’s pleading his case, he wants to play,” Longmuir said on Wednesday.
“He’s been at the club for a long period of time, and he’s been searching and preparing for these types of situations.
“He desperately wants to be out there and contribute. But on the flip side, he definitely doesn’t want to let the team down.
“The decision will be whether he’s ready to come into a really intense final, or he needs another week.
“As a match committee, we’ll always put the team first. There’s a fair bit to weigh up this afternoon.”
Taberner didn’t join the main group at training on Wednesday.
Instead, he started with a goalkicking session, before joining Logue for a kick-to-kick.
Skipper Nat Fyfe (hamstring) was a spectator, with the two-time Brownlow medallist unlikely to play again this year unless the Dockers reach the grand final.
Collingwood have lost Taylor Adams (groin) for the rest of the season, but Jordan De Goey is set to play through a minor shoulder issue.
Longmuir was full of praise for Amiss, who only returned to competitive action last month after recovering from kidney surgery.
“I thought he competed really well in aerial contests, which will hold him in good stead this week,” Longmuir said.
“I imagine he’ll only grow off last week and build off last week.
“I thought he handled the occasion really well and he’s a really mature player and a really grounded player.”