Defender Tobe Watson will make his AFL debut tonight as the Dockers pulled a late change in wet weather against Geelong.
Watson will replace Brennan Cox, who is set to sit out due to hip soreness.
Watson becomes Fremantle’s fith debutant in just eight games this season, joining Sam Sturt, Hayden Young, Caleb Serong and Michael Frederick.
The 190cm defender was a rookie draft selection in 2018.
The Donnybrook and Swan Districts product has been on the verge of senior selection for a while, named in the emergencies several times already this season.
Watson was labelled by coach Justin Longmuir as the biggest improver in the squad since he over from Ross Lyon.
“I think he’s ready to play and I think his form warrants an opportunity at AFL level,” Longmuir said earlier this month.
Midfielder Andy Brayshaw was another promoter of Watson, who has the ability to play on talls or smalls.
“There’s a lot of blokes putting their hand up that are ready to make it to the next level,” Brayshaw said.
“Someone who springs to mind is Tobe Watson in the back line. He’s been training well and he’s not far from getting his opportunity.”
Fremantle’s defensive injury crisis, which includes key-position players Joel Hamling, Alex Pearce (both ankle), Griffin Logue (toe) and now Cox, means Taylin Duman (192cm) is the tallest member of the current back-six, followed by Watson (190cm) and Luke Ryan (187cm).
Longmuir confirmed pre-game that Ryan would start on eight-time Geelong leading goal-kicker and dual All-Australian Tom Hawkins.
Wet and windy conditions could make tonight’s Optus Stadium clash a scrappy affair as both the Dockers and Cats look to bounce back from losses last week.