Fremantle midfielder Colin Sylvia has been guaranteed a spot for Saturday’s western derby against West Coast after some strong recent form.
If Colin Sylvia plays his cards carefully, he will be remembered as one of those AFL players who found themselves in the right place at the right time.
After playing just two finals during his 10-year career at Melbourne, Sylvia has the chance to achieve premiership glory in his first season at the Dockers.
Poor form, injuries and suspension meant Sylvia had to bide his time in the WAFL over the first 12 rounds of 2014.
But the high-profile recruit has impressed coach Ross Lyon since breaking into the senior side a fortnight ago.
His 17 disposals and five tackles in Saturday’s win against Brisbane has guaranteed his spot for Saturday’s derby against West Coast.
However, with Anthony Morabito, Luke McPharlin, Michael Johnson, Matt de Boer and Michael Walters set to come back into the team during the run to the finals, Sylvia knows a drop in form or intensity will result in his swift axing.
Lyon said he had been pleased with Sylvia’s efforts over the past fortnight, especially his work in the wet against the Lions.
“I thought there was some really strong, over the ball, aggressive tackling,” Lyon said.
“I thought he earned a little bit of respect (from) the players, and (was) welcomed into the team a little bit.
“But that’s an ongoing challenge for everyone that pulls on the jumper. Past performance doesn’t dictate there.
“He certainly did enough to guarantee himself (a game against West Coast). But from there it’s a week to week proposition – for everyone.”
The Eagles have regained some much-needed confidence over the past fortnight following wins over Gold Coast and St Kilda.
Eagles ruckman Dean Cox is set to return against the fourth-placed Dockers after being rested for a fortnight, while Fremantle will consider handing Morabito a long-awaited AFL recall.
West Coast still sit two wins adrift of eighth spot, meaning their clash with Fremantle could decide their finals fate.