Sandilands backs Griffin as fill-in - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sandilands backs Griffin as fill-in

By Justin Chadwick 23/05/2011 05:11:35 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle will be without their most influential player for the next four AFL games after scans revealed ruckman Aaron Sandilands had suffered tendon damage to his left big toe.

Sandilands has been spared surgery but will spend the next two weeks in a moon boot after stubbing the toe in Fremantle's 52-point win over Port Adelaide on Sunday.

It continues a torrid run of injuries for the Dockers, who are still without Michael Barlow, Roger Hayden, Adam McPhee, Anthony Morabito, Alex Silvagni and Nick Suban from their best 22.

Former Adelaide big man Jonathon Griffin, who was an emergency against the Power, is almost certain to earn the nod to fill in for Sandilands in Saturday's home clash with St Kilda.

But Griffin will have big shoes to fill - both figuratively and literally - with Sandilands now clearly the best tap ruckman in the competition.

Fremantle's recent record without Sandilands is proof of that, with the Dockers losing all five games over the past two seasons in which the 211cm giant was absent.

The Dockers were also thrashed in last year's semi-final by Geelong when a clearly hampered Sandilands carried a knee injury into the game.

Fremantle's midfield have become accustomed to receiving spoon-fed service from Sandilands but the 28-year-old was confident 201cm Griffin could continue that trend.

"I would back Griff in to win the majority of the hit-outs anyway," Sandilands said on Monday.

"He's a quality ruckman.

"He's done a fair bit of work with the midfield over the pre-season and in training as well, so I don't think there's going to be too much adjustment.

"Griff's been in great form in the WAFL and deserves a real opportunity to play at the club.

"So hopefully he can take the step up and play some really good footy for us.

"Griff's a big fellow, a great ruckman, so I'm pretty sure he can fill the shoes."

The seventh-placed Dockers (5-3) face St Kilda (home), Hawthorn (MCG), Essendon (home) and Melbourne (MCG) over the next month in what is shaping up to be a season-defining period for Fremantle's top-four hopes.

But Sandilands' immediate concern is finding a moon boot big enough to fit his giant feet.

"The club's got five or six of them and none of them fit," he said with a laugh.

"So I'll just have to see a place that makes the moon boot so hopefully it does fit otherwise I'll be in a bit of strife. I'm pretty sure they'll find one."

St Kilda used Jason Blake and Nick Riewoldt in the ruck last week but also have the option of throwing Justin Koschitzke in there.

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