We can cover for Barlow: Sandilands - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

We can cover for Barlow: Sandilands

By Justin Chadwick 07/07/2010 06:06:21 PM Comments (0)

All-Australian ruckman Aaron Sandilands is confident the loss of Michael Barlow won't derail Fremantle's impressive charge this AFL season.

Barlow is out for the year and faces a lengthy rehabilitation period after breaking his leg in sickening fashion during last week's 57-point mauling of Port Adelaide.

The 22-year-old played a huge role in the Dockers' resurgence this season, helping the club establish a two-game buffer inside the top four ahead of Saturday night's clash with Richmond at Etihad Stadium.

But Sandilands, who will reach his 150-game milestone this weekend, believed Fremantle possessed the midfield depth to cover for Barlow's loss.

"It's a big loss losing Micky but it gives an opportunity to someone else," Sandilands said on Wednesday.

"I had built up a pretty good relationship with him (but) whoever steps in I know pretty well anyway.

"Byron Schammer's been in great form for Claremont and he's only played one game for us this year.

"If he gets an opportunity I reckon he'll take the chance.

"We've still got guys like Dave Mundy, Rhys Palmer and Stephen Hill who are playing some great footy for us going through the midfield."

Sandilands, snared by Fremantle in the 2002 rookie draft, has established himself as the dominant ruckman in the competition and, barring injury, will earn his third straight All-Australian jumper this year.

The 27-year-old, who is contracted to the Dockers until the end of 2013, admits he has come a long way since debuting against Adelaide in round one, 2003.

"Yeah it was Wayne Carey's first game for Adelaide so the Adelaide fans were swinging from the rafters and I think they got us by about seven or eight goals, so I'll never forget it," Sandilands said.

"It's great to be able to make the 150 mark, really happy and I thank the club for giving me the opportunity to play 150 games.

"I think after a few years in the system you sort of learn the game and you become more comfortable in the game so yeah I just think it took a lot of time to get to that point."

But for now Sandilands is fully focused on Richmond, who amazingly are one of the form teams of the competition after winning four of their past five games.

Sandilands said shutting down Tigers forward Jack Riewoldt, who has booted 38 goals in the past seven games and 53 for the year, held the key to victory.

"He's been on fire," Sandilands marvelled.

"He's kicking bags of goals so I'm not sure who will get him, but whoever does is going to have a big challenge ahead.

"There is no easy game these days in the AFL, so we're really looking forward to it."

Fremantle remain hopeful defender Chris Tarrant will return from an Achilles tendon problem to replace the injured Antoni Grover (hamstring).

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