Injuries dog the Dockers
Lachie Neale is set to become the latest Fremantle player sidelined with an ankle injury as the Dockers consider resting the teenager for Sunday’s clash with the Western Bulldogs at Patersons Stadium.
Neale’s loss would only compound the Dockers’ injury woes. Fellow 2011 draftee Hayden Crozier is being treated for suspected glandular fever.
The club is expected to confirm Crozier’s final test results today. Coach Ross Lyon said that if the initial diagnosis proved correct, the 18-year-old was expected to miss the rest of the season.
West Coast midfielder Luke Shuey ended up being sidelined for eight weeks with the same condition in 2010.
Neale was substituted out in the third quarter of Fremantle’s 29-point loss to Collingwood on Saturday after rolling his left ankle.
He had managed just four disposals to that point in his quietest display for 2012.
The 19-year-old, who has played 10 consecutive games since making his debut in round four, is understood to have been battling pain for several weeks in the ankle he first injured during the pre-season.
Fremantle will make a decision on the fitness of Neale and Clancee Pearce (ankle) later this week, but it is likely the former will be left out of the side.
The South Australian recruit initially hurt the joint playing at Victor Harbor in his home State in March during a NAB Cup hit-out against Port Adelaide.
Neale’s loss would be offset by the expected return of speedster Stephen Hill, who has missed the past fortnight with an ankle injury.
Defender Zac Dawson is still no certainty to return from a knee injury that has also sidelined him for two matches.
Fremantle had some luck after escaping the AFL match review panel’s wrath ahead of a game they desperately need to win to remain in the finals hunt.
Tagger Ryan Crowley was cleared over a collision with Magpie midfielder Dayne Beams in the second quarter.
Teammate Nick Lower’s heavy shepherd against Tyson Goldsack that forced both players to leave the ground for treatment was overlooked, meaning he will also be available.
Fremantle are 13th on the ladder – a win and percentage behind eight-placed North Melbourne – but have a favourable run home with six games against bottom-eight sides that makes a late charge at September still possible.