Resting key players at the tail-end of the AFL season can be risky business.

But as Fremantle learned last year, it can be even riskier not to take the chance.

The Dockers are in the box seat to finish in the top-four, and are contemplating whether to hand some players a rest over the final four rounds of the home-and-away season.

Star midfielder David Mundy heads the queue after rolling his ankle in last week's win over Carlton, while Michael Johnson, Ryan Crowley, Danyle Pearce and Chris Mayne are other players who have had big workloads this season and might benefit from a rest.

The Dockers are expected to encounter few problems in games against GWS (home), Melbourne (away), Port Adelaide (home) and St Kilda (away) in the run home.

And although resting players has the potential to disrupt Fremantle's momentum, it could also have a huge benefit heading into a finals series.

Last season, Fremantle resisted the temptation to rest star defender Luke McPharlin at the tail-end of the season.

The decision ended up backfiring when McPharlin injured his hamstring in round 23 against Collingwood, ruling him out for the finals series.

Geelong have made a knack of resting key players in recent years - and the moves have paid big dividends.

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon says the Dockers will weigh up the merits of doing the same over the next month.

"It's a really delicate equilibrium. We'll be cautious in any decisions we make," Lyon said.

"It's something in our mind. Obviously Luke McPharlin was unique last year, and hindsight's a wonderful thing.

"We'll be looking at it, but there's no certainly we'll rest anyone."

Skipper Matthew Pavlich (suspension) and defender Garrick Ibbotson (Achilles tendon) will return to the side for Sunday's clash with GWS at Patersons Stadium.

But Clancee Pearce will miss two weeks due to a calf injury, while McPharlin (calf) isn't due back until the final round of the season.

 

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