Fremantle won’t risk defender Brennan Cox in must-win clash with St Kilda
Fremantle veteran Michael Walters could be available for finals next week, should the Dockers make it as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury.
But defender Brennan Cox won’t be a last minute return to the line up for the must-win clash with St Kilda, despite being ahead of schedule in his recovery from a serious hamstring complaint.
“Over the last couple of weeks and it looked like he was potentially a chance of being available this weekend,” Freo’s fitness boss Joe Brierty said.
“We’ll just continue to monitor his reconditioning program, he won’t be available this weekend.”
Connor Blakely will also miss Sunday’s match after tearing his hamstring in the western derby win.
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“It’s really unfortunate for Connor, he’s obviously really applying his trade this year and he’s got his opportunity playing in the 22 after playing as the medical sub a few times,” Brierty said.
“Unfortunately, he suffered a hamstring injury in the second quarter, so he’ll miss this weekend and potentially a few weeks.”
Should results on Saturday go their way, the Dockers must beat the Saints at Blundstone Arena on Sunday to have any chance of making finals for the first time in six seasons.
Fremantle forward Matt Taberner confirmed the team would return to Perth immediately after the Hobart match and might not learn their fate until they landed that evening.
“I guess we will find out when we land,” he said.
“The Essendon-Collingwood game is late Sunday and we might be on the flight by then.
“First of all we need to win to have any chance so that will be our sole focus.”
Fremantle require two of GWS (v Carlton), West Coast (v Brisbane) and Essendon to lose for them to survive beyond this weekend.
The Dockers have never played in Hobart but Taberner pointed to the comprehensive win over Hawthorn in Launceston last month as proof of their ability to perform well in Tasmania.
“We played some good football in Tasmania this season albeit at a different venue,” he said.
“I have never played at Blundstone. We expect it will be a little bit colder than Perth.”
The Dockers have spent just two weeks in the top eight this season but have been pushing up the ladder after a recent resurgence that saw them win five of their past nine matches.
That record included the blistering start in last week’s western derby that set up Fremantle’s victory and was identified by Taberner as the blueprint for future success.
The big full-forward kicked three goals from contested marks during that first quarter as his team-mates overwhelmed their derby rivals.
“Our effort was really good and it was great to get a fast start because that is something that we have struggled with this season,” he said.
“We have let some teams get the jump on us and left it to later in the game to mount a comeback.”
Taberner’s strong effort in the derby mirrored his round seven game against the Eagles when he kicked three goals in eight minutes either side of quarter-time.
“I got off to pretty good starts against West Coast but probably didn’t carry the performance though the whole game,” he said.
“Our midfield did a terrific job this time and it helps when it comes in like it did.”
Taberner revealed that captain Nat Fyfe had recently undergone hand surgery to follow the earlier operation to repair the dislocated shoulder that ended his season last month.
“He is messaging guys and supporting and playing a good role,” he said.
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