Freo’s turf toe woes
Fremantle is considering sending star ruckman Aaron Sandilands to Melbourne for surgery after he re-aggravated his turf toe condition in the side’s 23-point win over the Brisbane Lions at Patersons Stadium on Saturday night.
Coach Mark Harvey said the three-time All Australian would likely miss another month of football, while key defender Luke McPharlin is expected to miss two weeks with a groin injury.
The injuries soured an important win for Fremantle, which was set-up by a dominant five-goal game from captain Matthew Pavlich and included significant performances from defender Alex Silvagni and midfielder Rhys Palmer.
Sandilands, who was playing his first game back after a four-week lay-off, re-injured his toe early in the third quarter and didn’t return, while McPharlin, who has been in All Australian form, was subbed out of the game at half-time.
“Aaron’s re-injured the same injury, however we are going to look at perhaps sending him to Melbourne to see a surgeon,” Harvey said on Saturday night.
“We might stitch it (the ligament) this time and that might be a better process … to know it would be knitted would be a lot better result.
“He said [the toe] was fantastic up until the point in time when it grabbed him, which was I think when he was taking off. There’s no long-term effect – that’s what I did get from the doctor, so we’ll try a different way perhaps this time.”
McPharlin’s absence was covered by Silvagni, who has been sidelined this year with a groin injury and held influential Lions captain Jonathon Brown goalless after half-time.
“I’ve always rated this kid highly; he brings aggression,” Harvey said of Silvagni, who the coach had planned to sub out of the game for Roger Hayden, who also played his first game for the year.
“I think on three occasions they’d gone to Brown within five minutes and he outplayed him. That will give the team a lot of confidence knowing that Luke (McPharlin) might be out for a couple of weeks.”
Palmer, who was one of seven inclusions for Fremantle, was given a run-with role on Lions midfielder Luke Power and held him to just eight possessions.
Defender Greg Broughton (32 possessions and two goals) was also influential playing up the ground.
Harvey said Fremantle expected to regain key defender Antoni Grover (adductor), goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne (hamstring) and Tendai Mzungu (calf) for next Saturday’s clash with Gold Coast at Patersons Stadium.
The coach said midfielder Michael Barlow, who was left out of the side with general soreness after his comeback from a broken leg last week, would be assessed.
Fremantle, which has been cursed by injuries to key players all season, still has a lengthy injury list, but Harvey said the team could hold its ground in the top eight.
“Whatever the availability is, provided that everyone is on top of their game and they’re becoming the best footballer they can, then it shouldn’t matter,” he said. “But if it goes too deep it can matter.”