Not giving up hope ... Stephen Hill of the Dockers looks for someone to pass to.
Not giving up hope ... Stephen Hill of the Dockers looks for someone to pass to. JOE CASTRO

Docker Hill’s climb to summit is still on

STEPHEN Hill isn't letting Fremantle's disastrous season stop him harbouring an ambition to one day join little brother Brad Hill as a premiership player.

The younger Hill, 23, has already been involved in three flags with Hawthorn (2013-2015) - 26-year-old Stephen would love at least one.

"We (he and Brad) try not to bring it up too much," the dashing Dockers wingman tells Australian Regional Media with a laugh ahead of his side's visit to play Brisbane at the Gabba today.

"He can be cheeky, (but) with the premierships he's been pretty good.

"I wish to be in that position one day and get one.

"It just makes me a little more hungry knowing he's got one."

After going close to securing their first ever flag in recent seasons - finishing runner-up in 2013, when beaten by Brad's Hawks, and third in 2015 after winning the minor premiership - the Dockers seem as far away as ever, sitting 16th, having only just opening their account last week against Essendon.

But, the side will still have the hallmarks of being a contender if and when it gets its best side back on the park under senior coach Ross Lyon, who is signed until at least 2020 as he also seeks a first premiership.

"You don't really expect that to happen," he said of the dramatic decline. "We've been pretty strong the last few years - a top-four side.

"We didn't really lose too much - (retired fullback Luke) McPharlin was the main one, but then injuries hit. But I guess it gives opportunity to other players to step up."

The Dockers will look forward to having Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe, star recruit Harley Bennell and All-Australian defender Michael Johnson, all currently injured, back fully fit in 2017 while the younger crop such as Lachie Weller continue their development.

"I think we've still got a really strong group," Hill said. "Strong leaders at the club.

"And we've got a lot of young guys and they're getting an opportunity to get more experience and improve their game.

"I think we'll be fine."

Fremantle broke its 10-match losing streak with a thumping win over the Bombers, Hill one of the best players with 26 touches across halfback and through the middle.

The Dockers will be keen to make it two in a row against a team it has beaten the last eight times, including three in Brisbane - and continue to quash any talk of the side tanking to ensure the highest possible draft pick at season's end.

"We don't listen to that stuff," Hill said. "We're all competitors and we go out there and give 100% effort. We all want to win. We're never going to go out there and not try."

While Matthew Pavlich (groin) will be a no-show for the visitors, Jackson Paine (foot), Allen Christensen (collarbone) and Jonathan Freeman (omitted) have been replaced in the hosts' side by Harris Andrews, Rohan Bewick, Darcy Gardiner following their loss to Carlton.



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