Sandilands out for four weeks
Fremantle ruckman Aaron Sandilands will be sidelined for four weeks and have his left foot in a custom-made moonboot for a week after suffering tendon damage in his big toe against Port Adelaide on Saturday.
Sandilands had scans on Monday morning that revealed the damage but he will not require surgery.
The three-time All-Australian slammed his left foot into the ground in the final quarter of Fremantle’s 52-point win against Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium and spent the rest of the match on the bench with an ice pack strapped to the injured foot.
He remained positive on Monday and backed in-form ruck recruit Jonathon Griffin to step seamlessly into the side against St Kilda this Saturday at Patersons Stadium.
“It could have been worse; it could have been a lot longer,” Sandilands said from Fremantle Oval.
“It will only be four weeks and I’ll be back out there sooner rather than later and can finish off the rest of the season.
“Just to put weight through the big toe sort of area is where you can feel it the most. I’ve just got no power through that area.
“Fortunately I don’t have to have surgery, I’ve just got to find a moonboot big enough to put on for a week or so.”
None of Fremantle’s five moonboots fits Sandilands’ size 18 foot, so he will see a manufacturer on Monday.
The 28-year-old has missed just five games since the start of the 2008 season, with Fremantle losing all five matches, including a crucial three-week spell leading into last year’s finals series.
The club faces St Kilda (Patersons Stadium), Hawthorn (MCG), Essendon (Patersons Stadium) and Melbourne (MCG) in its next four matches.
Sandilands played through a knee injury in last year’s semi-final loss to Geelong, but he wasn’t at his best, prompting the club to target former Adelaide ruckman Griffin during trade week as insurance.
The 25-year-old was an emergency against Port Adelaide and is poised to make his Fremantle debut against the Saints after averaging more than 36 hit-outs in seven games for East Fremantle this season.
Sandilands said the 201cm ruckman’s strengths were his running ability and tap-work.
“‘Griff’ has been in great form in the WAFL and deserves a real opportunity to play at the club,” Sandilands said.
“Hopefully he can take a step up and play some really good footy for us.
“He’s been playing huge game time for East Fremantle at the moment, so he’s match fit and he’s just going to come in and fill the role that I’ve been doing.
“He has done a fair bit of work with the midfield over the pre-season and in training as well. I don’t think it’s going to be too much of an adjustment.”
Sandilands’ absence adds to the biggest injury list in the AFL, but Fremantle remains in the top eight with a 5-3 record and can look forward to the return of key players Michael Barlow, Roger Hayden and Alex Silvagni in the next month.
“We have got some quality players out at the moment and when these guys come back into the side they’re going to be fresh and ready and hungry,” Sandilands said.
“That’s going to put us in good stead for the second half of the footy season.”