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McPharlin to become Freo's AFL swingman
Justin Chadwick
19:19 AEST Wed Apr 24 2013

He thought his swinging days were over, but Fremantle defender Luke McPharlin is set to get another taste of life in the fast lane as the Dockers attempt to plug the hole left by injured forward Matthew Pavlich.

McPharlin has played the majority of his career in defence, and was named the All-Australian fullback last year.

But with Fremantle in desperate need of another tall target in attack while Pavlich is sidelined, McPharlin could reprise the swingman role he performed earlier in his career.

McPharlin spent a significant part of the 2005 season up forward on the way to 34 goals, while he managed at least 20 goals in both 2008 and '09 as he alternated between attack and defence.

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon is reluctant to take him out of defence for any sizeable periods given the 31-year-old's rock-solid qualities.

But Lyon is open to the idea of shifting McPharlin up forward for brief stints, much like what West Coast premiership defender Adam Hunter used to do with great success.

"I think he's a better backman, but you can swing him forward at the right time," Lyon said of McPharlin.

"I think he's more of a swingman really - a bit like Hunter used to be at the Eagles."

McPharlin missed last week's 42-point loss to Hawthorn due to concussion, but Lyon said the 212-game veteran was feeling "a million bucks" and would take his place against Richmond in Friday night's blockbuster at Patersons Stadium.

Pavlich is set to miss at least another four weeks after undergoing surgery on his plantaris tendon, while ruckman Aaron Sandilands (hamstring) could be up to 10 weeks away.

But Lyon has full faith his small forward set-up, featuring the likes of Hayden Ballantyne, Michael Walters, Chris Mayne and Kepler Bradley, would be able to kick winning scores while Pavlich is injured.

"When we played the NAB Cup, we were small and lively," Lyon said.

"I thought on the weekend (against Hawthorn), when we organised to be better, we were quite mobile and dangerous.

"We had lots of opportunities. If we had have lowered our eyes a little bit, we had plenty of free options. It could have been a lot closer."


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