Fremantle defender Luke Ryan says teammate Alex Pearce's approach to his latest injury setback has been inspiring.
While much of Saturday's match against Hawthorn at Launceston's UTAS Stadium will be about celebrating the return of Hawk Grant Birchall from a long injury lay-off, fellow North-West Coaster Pearce will be sidelined due to his fractured left ankle.
But Ryan said the positive approach Pearce has taken to his latest enforced break from the game, which came after he had to wait 672 days between games after breaking his leg in 2016, was something which showed the Ulverstone product's strength of character.
"He is a massive loss both as a player and a leader with the young group that we have, so to lose Alex for the whole year was pretty devastating,'' Ryan said.
"But he is always messaging and helping us in the back line, so he is always there for us.
"He has been through a lot of adversity, but has still been so positive around the group and is just so mentally tough. That is not just on the footy field, but off it, but he is just the perfect role model for footballers who get injured and want to play footy again."
Ryan, 23, said he was confident the Dockers could rediscover their best form, starting at a ground where they have won just once in 11 outings (the infamous Sirengate game in 2006) against the 13th placed Hawthorn.
"We have really narrowed it down to our team defence as that has slipped away and our ball movement will need to get a whole lot better as well,'' he said.
"If we bring our team defence and pressure and don't allow them (Hawthorn) easy kicks, we will go close to winning the game."
Saturday's game will start at 2.10pm.