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After 353 games and 700 goals, Pav goes out a winner

Football

Fremantle have finished a horror 2016 season on a high with a memorable farewell of Matthew Pavlich, but coach Ross Lyon stopped short of announcing any further departures from the AFL club.

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Lyon famously announced the retirements publicly of Michael Gardiner, Steven Baker, Robert Eddy and Andrew McQualter from St Kilda at the end of 2011, but there was no such announcement from the Dockers coach to conclude 2016.

It has been a disastrous season for Fremantle, winning just four games on the back of a minor premiership and preliminary final appearance in 2015.

But it at least finished on a high with a 20-point victory at Domain Stadium against the finals bound Western Bulldogs yesterday.

It was a day celebrating the career of former captain Pavlich, who played his 353rd and final game.

Pavlich kicked his 700th goal in the first quarter to cap a career that includes six All-Australian selections and six best-and-fairest awards.

Pavlich, who says the right time to retire, was pleased the Dockers finished the season on a winning note.

“I came here as a 17-year-old who had to mature and learn a lot along the way, and the club and myself have really grown up together,” Pavlich said.

“This year has been challenging but I leave with not one regret and I feel like I’ve absolutely emptied the tank.

“Hopefully this performance can springboard us into a strong pre-season.”

Given Lyon has been accustomed to coaching teams deep into finals at both St Kilda and Fremantle, an early end means there’s no rush to make any decision on the future of players

With up to 20 eligible to play in the WAFL finals with Peel Thunder, what lies ahead for them won’t be decided immediately – and that includes the likes of Matt de Boer, Tendai Mzungu, Nick Suban, Anthony Morabito and Clancee Pearce.

“There’s no urgency on anything. Our players come in 12 o’clock Monday. We’ll have 20 that continue on with Peel Thunder and they’re really committed and they’re enthusiastic,” Lyon said.

“The other guys that will start their annual leave, we’ll have them in Monday, Tuesday. There’s protocols that you need to adhere to. There’ll be no review.”

-AAP

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