Sandilands has eye on Kangaroos
Fremantle is confident star ruckman Aaron Sandilands will be fit to face North Melbourne this Sunday after suffering an eye injury in the side’s 25-point win over Adelaide in round three.
The All-Australian has been cleared of any serious damage to his left eye after staying in Adelaide at the weekend to seek treatment and visiting an eye specialist in Perth on Monday.
Sandilands was substituted out of Saturday’s clash at AAMI Stadium early in the third quarter after an accidental poke to his eye put an end to his dominant start to the match.
Fremantle football manager Chris Bond said the club’s medical advice was that Sandilands take it easy for the next few days.
“We expect Aaron to be right to play against North Melbourne on Sunday,” he said.
Fremantle was able to maintain its healthy half-time lead once Sandilands was sidelined, notching its second away win of the season in Matthew Pavlich’s club-record 239th game.
Forward Matt de Boer said the side handled the influential ruckman’s absence well.
“Credit to Kepler Bradley and Michael Johnson; they stood up in the role and carried it for the rest of the day,” de Boer said from Fremantle Oval on Monday.
“Every win is significant and especially playing away from home. The boys are really excited and ‘Pav’s’ milestone victory meant a lot to him.”
Fremantle could call on young ruckman Zac Clarke or Adelaide recruit Jon Griffin this week if Sandilands isn’t cleared to face the Kangaroos.
Sunday’s clash will be the second of three consecutive games where Fremantle faces an opposition coming off a bye, with the Western Bulldogs travelling to Patersons Stadium in round five.
De Boer said Fremantle would have to be prepared for an early assault from a rested North Melbourne.
“This is a big test this week, [with the] Kangaroos coming off the bye. They could be fresh, so we’ll just have to be on our guard early,” he said.
De Boer, who was on Fremantle’s rookie list last season, has been elevated into the club’s leadership group this year after emerging as a valuable defensive forward in 2010.
The hard-working 21-year-old said he was enjoying the role and was happy to be back in the side and contributing after a hamstring injury interrupted the latter stages of his pre-season.
“You have to nominate yourself for the leadership group, which I did. I was lucky enough to be voted in, which I’m pretty proud of,” he said.
“I was just concentrating on my own game and making sure I was contributing to the team, and I think the boys started getting a bit of respect for me.
“Obviously we’ve got a lot of young guys at the club, so I’m just trying to represent them as best I can.
“The young boys made a bit of a pact amongst each other just to try and share the load. We’re all contributing.”