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Freo's Pavlich ponders AFL club captaincy
Justin Chadwick
18:49 AEST Thu Jan 17 2013

Fremantle forward Matthew Pavlich will happily step down as captain when he feels the time is right, saying he has already discussed a succession plan with the AFL club.

Pavlich has established himself as Fremantle's greatest player during his decorated 279-game career, with his six All-Australian awards, six best-and-fairests, and 558 goals all records at the club.

The 31-year-old, who has been captain since 2007, has no immediate plans to step down.

But Pavlich said there were plenty of candidates to replace him once the time was right to pass over the baton.

Aaron Sandilands and Luke McPharlin are likely to be overlooked given they are in the twilight of their careers.

But the likes of David Mundy, Matt de Boer, Nat Fyfe and Hayden Ballantyne would be right in the mix, while Pavlich said Chris Mayne, Stephen Hill, Garrick Ibbotson and Tendai Mzungu were other emerging players who offered sound leadership.

Pavlich has been in close contact with chief executive Steve Rosich, football operations manager Chris Bond and coach Ross Lyon about a succession plan, and said he would embrace the change when the time was right.

"I certainly don't want to stand in the way of anyone. I don't want to suffocate the oxygen out of any other internal candidates," Pavlich said after the team's photo shoot on Thursday.

"If there are some players that are willing to step up and are ready, then absolutely, that would be great and fine with me.

"And equally, if there wasn't, then I'd be happy to continue on.

"We've worked extremely hard to develop not only the leaders within the leadership group, but some of the emerging leaders that are coming through and are starting to have a real impact.

"There's a lot of guys that have played between 70 and 120 games now that we really believe are the future of this club."

Pavlich, who underwent hip, back and Achilles tendon surgery during the off-season, said he was on track to appear in at least one pre-season game.

Meanwhile, Pavlich praised the perseverance of 21-year-old midfielder Anthony Morabito, who will undergo the radical LARS procedure in Sydney next week after rupturing his knee for a third time.

"Just when you're hurting in the pre-season and things might be a bit tough, sometimes you put it in perspective and think about what Anthony Morabito has been through," Pavlich said.

"It gives the guys a massive leg-up.

"His personal development and maturity has really shone through."


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