Review panel clears Dockers duo
Injury-ravaged Fremantle received some positive news on the player front with midfielder Rhys Palmer and forward Hayden Ballantyne cleared of incidents by the AFL match review panel today.
Palmer collected Brendon Goddard with a bump to the head early in the first quarter of last Saturday’s loss to St Kilda at Patersons Stadium.
But the AFL’s tribunal body decided Palmer didn’t have a case to answer and he can now be considered for Sunday’s battle with Hawthorn at the MCG.
“The panel received a medical report from St Kilda which stated that player Goddard did not require any medical assessment after the contact. Based on the available vision, it could not be determined if there was any forceful high contact to the head or neck region by player Palmer. No further action was taken,” declared the panel.
Ballatnyne won’t face scrutiny for an incident in which Saints forward Adam Schneider was knocked after he’d taken a mark last Sunday.
The confirmation both players were cleared was a boost to the Dockers, who could ill-afford to lose two fit players when they already have a long injury list.
But Clancee Pearce should be available after withdrawing with an ankle injury while Nat Fyfe (shoulder) and Kepler Bradley (ribs) are tipped to be OK. Fyfe had scans yesterday and the results will be known today.
Coach Mark Harvey expected the duo, and David Mundy (ankle), to be available for Sunday’s clash against Hawthorn at the MCG.
Harvey confirmed there would be changes but there were few options with just seven fit players playing in the WAFL.
“There’s not a lot at the moment,” Harvey said. “Zac (Clarke) is obviously playing up in Darwin, Clayton Hinkley’s back.
“Clancee Pearce was a late withdrawal but will probably be OK for next week so he would come into line for selection.
“(Ben) Bucovaz has been playing OK at WAFL level and (Jayden) Pitt, these sorts of guys that have been around the team.”
Last year’s star recruit Michael Barlow (leg) and defender Roger Hayden (foot) are also in line to make their long-awaited return from injury through the WAFL, with Harvey saying they were expected to play this weekend.
The loss continued Fremantle’s run of defeats without Aaron Sandilands. Defender Luke McPharlin said the team had to find a way to play well when their star ruckman didn’t play.
“There’s no doubt Aaron is an enormous, significant player for us,” McPharlin said.
“But we can’t dwell on things like that. We need to have the depth in our side to be able to deal with teams when Aaron is not around.
“We probably rely too heavily on him at times and that’s just a learning curve for us, to be able to be a competitive side without him in it.
“He’s going to be out for a chunk of time. That’s a challenge for us.”