Fremantle are confident sought-after onballer Lachie Neale will stay at the AFL club, ex-captain Matthew Pavlich says.
Neale has put contract talks on hold with the Dockers as rival clubs circle the South Australian-born midfielder.
But Pavlich expects the talented 23-year-old to remain at Fremantle.
"We don't know. But we're really confident he will (stay)," Pavlich told the Seven Network's Game Day program on Sunday.
"Everything in his fibre is showing that he's willing to commit to the club.
"He's a great young leader. He's really stepped up in the absence of (Nat) Fyfe and (David) Mundy and (Aaron) Sandilands and a number of our leaders in that midfield group.
"He's a great person ... and we're really hopeful he can stay."
The Dockers have yet to win in 10 matches this season, slipping to another loss when over-run late by St Kilda on Saturday.
Is Lachie Neale doing a Nat Fyfe impression? Dominating center clearances, then going forward to take contested marks? #aflsaintsfreo— Gil Griffin (@GriffinGil12) May 28, 2016
"It has been challenging but I think you keep a pragmatic and considered view," Pavlich said.
"It's not just one or two things that have gone awry this season for us, there's probably five or six or seven.
"There have obviously been some changes to our game plan and our structures.
"Clearly we have had injuries. There has been a bit of a change in structure around our coaches, our leadership group, so there's a number of things at play that have gone wrong.
"It's a tough and challenging time and with that comes some opportunity for young players. But we're going to fight through it."