FREMANTLE’S unexpected rise up the AFL ladder is even more meritorious than it appears, given the Dockers have had to overcome more than just Victorian scepticism.

As the Herald Sun’s Injury Ladder shows, the Dockers have been without key players for large chunks of the opening 13 rounds … and have exceeded expectations.

Their defence has been decimated with Greg Broughton, Luke McPharlin, Antoni Grover and Michael Johnson missing five games or more.

The bad news for the rest of the competition is the Dockers should have them back soon, plus they have the best run home of any of the clubs who will feature in the finals.

The ladder was compiled using the following criteria.

The “Games missed” came from players we rated in the top 25 at their clubs. Applying this broad formula, Fremantle has been knocked around more than any club except Hawthorn.

“Missed 5 or more” is the number of key players that have missed five or more matches this season.

And “Played every game” relates to those who haven’t missed a match to date, an area where the Saints have been the best performers.

The ladder gives an insight into the plight of the two Adelaide teams and the ability of Hawthorn and Geelong to produce despite long-term injuries.

HERALD SUN INJURY LADDER

Team
Games missed Missed 5 or more Played every game
1. Hawthorn 60 4 7
2. Fremantle 58 8 10
3. Port Adelaide 56 5 8
4. Adelaide 55 3 7
5. Geelong 54 5 12
6. Brisbane 53 4 7
7. Essendon 52 3 6
8. Melbourne 47 3 6
9. West Coast 44 5 6
10. W Bulldogs 42 3 9
11. North Melb 39 4 10
12. Sydney 37 3 10
13. St Kilda 36 2 13
14. Carlton 36 1 9
15. Collingwood 35 2 9
16. Richmond 31 2 4

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