Fremantle defender Roger Hayden has announced his AFL retirement due to a recurring foot injury.

The 30-year-old, who notched 128 games for the club but just three this year, injured the foot late last year but has been told he needs another round of surgery.

“Going through the rehab again, especially at my age, the healing process takes a little bit longer,” Hayden said.

“I had a chat with my family and, in the best interests of my body, I’ve decided to retire.

“The playing group that we have now, if we can get everyone on the park, will go a very long way over the next few years.

“To not be a part of that is something that’s going to be hard.”

Meanwhile, Fremantle coach Mark Harvey scoffed at suggestions from Dockers great Paul Hasleby that his list contains only 26 AFL-standard players, saying the club’s crippling injury crisis made things appear worse than they actually were.

“I would have been interested to ask Paul where he saw Zac Clarke, whether he saw him in the 26 before he made that opinion, as an example,” Harvey said on Wednesday.

“It’s all opinion-based and Paul’s entitled to his outlook on the club.

“(But) I think when you’re a one-team player, you’ve got to be very careful what you say.”

The likes of Paul Duffield, Michael Johnson, Chris Mayne, Jack Anthony, Ryan Crowley, Adam McPhee, Kepler Bradley and Rhys Palmer have all struggled this season, leaving Harvey to ponder whether he needs to top up his list by trading away prized draft picks.

Harvey ruled out recruiting former Carlton and Brisbane bad boy Brendan Fevola, but said he would look at other options like the Lions’ Mitch Clark if they became available.

However, it’s the immediate future that has Harvey scratching his head.

The Dockers, in the midst of their worst injury run, will struggle to cobble together a full side for Saturday’s clash with the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium.

Replacements are needed for Nat Fyfe (shoulder), Garrick Ibbotson (shoulder), Peter Faulks (broken jaw) and Nick Lower (suspended).

Although defenders Antoni Grover and Alex Silvagni are expected to return, the Dockers are left with few options beyond that.

Ben Bucovaz was set for a recall before copping a one-week suspension in the WAFL, while other options on the senior list – Justin Bollenhagen (rolled ankle) and Joel Houghton (calf) – face a race against time to prove their fitness.

Should the Dockers’ appeal against Bucovaz’s suspension be unsuccessful and Bollenhagen and Houghton fail to come up, Fremantle will need special permission from the AFL to upgrade rookies Hamish Shepheard and Casey Sibosado.

Normally, a club is able to upgrade a rookie by merely placing a senior player on the long-term injury list.

But the deadline for that has already passed, with the Dockers hopeful the AFL will grant them special permission to field a rookie, given the extenuating circumstances.

Meantime, Harvey confirmed he would sound out former Fremantle captain Peter Bell about becoming an assistant coach at the club next year.

“He’s been out of football for a couple of years now and probably misses it a bit, so he may decide to take coaching on in either a full-time or part-time capacity. We’d be naive not to talk to him about that,” Harvey said.

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