Injury-hit Dockers ask for rookie help
Fremantle will seek special permission from the AFL to upgrade more rookies to the senior list after being hit with yet another spate of injuries.
The Dockers will be forced to make at least four changes for Saturday’s match with Western Bulldogs at Docklands, with midfielder Nat Fyfe (shoulder), Garrick Ibbotson (shoulder), Peter Faulks (broken jaw) and Nick Lower (suspended) all unavailable.
Defenders Antoni Grover and Alex Silvagni are expected to return from injury, but Dockers coach Mark Harvey is struggling to find the further two players needed to make up a 22-man squad.
Ben Bucovaz was almost certain to be included, but his participation is doubtful after copping a one-week suspension in the WAFL that the Dockers will appeal.
That leaves Justin Bollenhagen and Joel Houghton as the only other realistic options on the Dockers’ senior list who can be included in the selection mix.
But a rolled ankle to Bollenhagen and a calf complaint to Houghton could also rule them out of action.
Normally, a club is able to upgrade a rookie by merely placing a senior player on the long-term injury list.
But under the 2007-2011 collective bargaining agreement between the AFL and the AFL Players’ Association: “An AFL club is unable to transfer an injured player to its long-term injury list after 5pm on Thursday following round 18 of the AFL premiership season in each year”.
Harvey hopes the AFL will grant the Dockers a special allowance given the club’s injury crisis.
“My understanding is that if it gets this drastic, then sometimes there might be a compromise with that decision,” Harvey said.