Dockers deputy rules out derby shake-up

Shayne Hope |

Ex-West Coast assistant coach Jaymie Graham will be in Fremantle’s hot seat in Sunday’s AFL derby.
Ex-West Coast assistant coach Jaymie Graham will be in Fremantle’s hot seat in Sunday’s AFL derby.

Fremantle stand-in coach Jaymie Graham won’t try to reinvent the wheel when he steps into the hot seat for the AFL derby with West Coast.

Graham has taken the reins from Justin Longmuir for the round-three meeting at Optus Stadium on Sunday, with the senior coach sidelined through health and safety protocols.

“You’ve got to be yourself as far as the way you present to the group and your own personality, but we’ve got systems and behaviours and a style of play that we want to produce,” Graham said.

“That won’t change just because of one week of JL not being here.

“We’ve planned for something like this to happen throughout this crazy, weird season.

“I’m grateful that the club have put some trust in me to take this opportunity but really it’s a collaborative approach with all our coaching group and all our staff.”

Longmuir will be allowed to dial into the Fremantle coaches’ box from a remote location, as Carlton’s Michael Voss did in round two.

Graham’s move into the Dockers’ lead role means the former West Coast ruckman and assistant coach will become the first man to coach both West Australian clubs in a competitive match.

The 39-year-old stood in for Adam Simpson for one match in 2018, steering the Eagles to a win over the Western Bulldogs.

Graham, who is widely viewed as a senior coach in waiting and went through the selection process at Collingwood last year, doesn’t see this week as an audition.

“It’s a set of circumstances,” Graham said.

“Like anything in life, you have experiences along the way.

“But this is just a great opportunity for our club, who have really been working on their trademark and behaviours.

“We’ve got one of our main leaders not around … and it’s a good test for our maturity as a club.”

Graham confirmed Fremantle’s No.10 draft pick Neil Erasmus will make his AFL debut in the derby cauldron.

Ruckman Sean Darcy (ankle) and midfielder Caleb Serong (knee) will be given every chance to prove their fitness before the team is named on Saturday.

Veteran midfielder David Mundy is the only Dockers player ruled out of the derby through health and safety protocols at this stage and captain Nat Fyfe (back) is still sidelined.