Injury-hit Dockers hoist AFL white flag - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Injury-hit Dockers hoist AFL white flag

By Justin Chadwick 22/08/2011 06:44:15 PM Comments (0)

What the AFL hoped would be a Friday night blockbuster in Perth is almost certain to be a fizzer, with seven top-line Fremantle players ruled out of the clash with defending premiers Collingwood.

Dockers skipper Matthew Pavlich (calf), Hayden Ballantyne (hamstring), David Mundy (ankle) and Adam McPhee (foot) are unlikely to play again this season, while Alex Silvagni (concussion) and Greg Broughton (ribs) will also be absent against Collingwood.

Defender Antoni Grover (soreness) is also unlikely to front up after a big season in which he's missed just one game.

Fremantle coach Mark Harvey conceded last week's 98-point loss to North Melbourne, which left the Dockers six points adrift of eighth spot, put the final nail in the coffin of his team's finals hopes.

But Harvey denied this week's selection choices were related to the team's ladder position, saying those same seven players would have been ruled out against the 'Pies even if Fremantle were still in the finals mix.

Harvey predicted he would have just 25 fit players to choose from this week but admitted even some of those were underdone due to recent injuries.

Kepler Bradley, Clancee Pearce, Peter Faulks, Byron Schammer, Nick Lower, Ben Bucovaz, Jack Anthony, Paul Duffield and Jonathon Griffin lead the list to earn recalls after being held back from WAFL duty over the weekend.

The AFL has seen some massive blowouts in games this season but Harvey said he couldn't worry about the prospect of his team being mauled by Collingwood on the marquee stage of Friday night football.

"It doesn't matter what audience, whether it's Friday night, Saturday, Sunday. The game doesn't hold any criticism back on the back of when you play," Harvey said.

"We'll see what happens Friday. I wouldn't have thought that it would be easy for Collingwood."

The Dockers, semi-finalists last season, have been plagued by injuries to key players this year.

Anthony Morabito, Michael Barlow, Mundy, Aaron Sandilands, Roger Hayden, Nick Suban, Matt de Boer, Ballantyne, Tendai Mzungu and McPhee have all missed large chunks of the year in a horror run of luck that doomed Fremantle's finals changes.

Harvey said it was imperative for the AFL to look into the heavy injury toll some clubs have endured this year, suggesting the new interchange rule might have played some part.

"My understanding is a lot of clubs are going through this (sore and injured players) and Collingwood, in fact, is one of them that's said (that) regularly over the last four or five weeks," Harvey said.

"... Something needs to be discussed about the length of lists, rotations, etc.

"I think the idea of having two byes in a season is really good to give some teams a rest during that occasion."

Fremantle have lost five games on the trot since notching an upset victory over Sydney.

Harvey said his team's lengthy injury list shouldn't be used as the sole excuse for their failed season.

"I think we would be naive to just say that (injuries alone ended our chances)," Harvey said.

"It's been difficult, but we need to make sure that the players, whatever team they play, that we can be a lot more accountable for the result."

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