AAP AFL

Docker Cam McCarthy set to face AFL Blues

By AAP Newswire

Misfiring Fremantle forward Cam McCarthy is set to be given the chance to redeem himself in Saturday's AFL clash with Carlton at Etihad Stadium.

McCarthy was axed for last week's three-point win over Adelaide after managing just 12.13 over the first 11 rounds.

The 23-year-old was touted as a future star after booting 35 goals in 2015 for GWS.

But he has struggled since arriving at Fremantle at the end of 2016, booting just 37 goals in 30 games at his new club.

McCarthy kicked one goal from 17 disposals in windy conditions last week for WAFL side Peel Thunder, seemingly showing enough to earn an immediate AFL recall.

"Cam will be in the squad," Dockers coach Ross Lyon said on Thursday.

"He wasn't perfect (in the WAFL last week) but we thought he tried very hard.

"It was very difficult conditions, adverse weather, blowing a gale. But his attitude has been really strong."

Lyon hopes McCarthy's one-week absence from AFL action has given the spearhead enough of a spell away from the intense spotlight of top-level football.

"The scrutiny can be overbearing, but that's the reality of AFL football, isn't it?" Lyon said.

"We understand a lot comes with it - social media, the four-hour news cycle as opposed to what it used to be - 24 hours.

"And it's not even nasty - when you're playing well, it can be good. But when you're underperforming, it gets highlighted.

"I think it just builds a little bit and, when the team was struggling a little bit, it was probably best to release that pressure valve and let him go back and let him work hard."

Ruckman Aaron Sandilands (concussion) and skipper Nat Fyfe (suspension) are set to return, but Michael Walters (suspension) and Alex Pearce (broken thumb) go out.

Pearce played out last week's game with a broken thumb, and had surgery this week to correct the problem.

Lyon hoped the rest of the team were inspired by Pearce's actions.

"He went back on and played without any injection or medical assistance," Lyon said.

"It was a really meritorious day for him the way he went about it.

"It's set some high standards for everyone that plays this weekend about how you need to compete and never give up.

"Hopefully, they play with that level of spirit."

Lyon wants his team to put in a fighting display to commemorate Fyfe's 150-game milestone.