Fremantle sweat on Matt Taberner’s latest injury concern as Dockers ponder St Kilda’s rediscovered form

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Eliza ReillyThe West Australian
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Fremantle face the prospect of having to replace key forward Matt Taberner yet again for Saturday’s high stakes clash with St Kilda.
Camera IconFremantle face the prospect of having to replace key forward Matt Taberner yet again for Saturday’s high stakes clash with St Kilda. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos

Fremantle face the prospect of having to replace key forward Matt Taberner yet again for Saturday’s high stakes clash with St Kilda as the key forward’s lack of durability continues to cost him.

Taberner kicked two goals against Port Adelaide before being subbed out in the last quarter with a hamstring injury.

It was the 29-year-old’s second game back from back spasms that forced him to return via Peel last month.

Fremantle pondered giving him another week in the WAFL to manage his long-term fitness but ultimately decided to try and stretch Carlton’s injury-hit backline in round 15.

Taberner has played just eight games this season, stringing no more than a month of football together at a time.

Coach Justin Longmuir said the club was disappointed Taberner had sustained another injury just a fortnight after returning.

“I haven’t spoken to the doctors but it was serious enough to get him out of the game so we will have to see how it is,” Longmuir said.

Second-year forward Josh Treacy is expected to be fit for selection if Taberner is ruled out.

Treacy was on track for a quicker than anticipated recovery from an ankle injury before the league-wide WAFL bye last weekend and will benefit from another week’s recovery.

The Dockers could also consider recalling Lloyd Meek to share the ruck load and rotate forward alongside Sean Darcy as Fremantle prepare to face St Kilda ruck pair Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall.

SPT AFL Fremantle training at Cockburn. Lloyd Meek training with Burley footballs.
Camera IconThe Dockers could also consider recalling Lloyd Meek to share the ruck load and rotate forward alongside Sean Darcy as Fremantle prepare to face St Kilda ruck pair Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall. Credit: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

St Kilda have their own injury woes, with key defender Dougal Howard and young gun Hunter Clark all but ruled out of Saturday’s clash.

Howard will undergo surgery on Tuesday to repair a meniscal tear while Clark has already had surgery on a broken nose sustained in a nasty collision with teammate Dan Butler.

The Saints scored a surprise victory at Optus Stadium the last time the teams met in round two.

The Saints should be full of confidence after defeating Carlton on Friday night, following three consecutive losses.

“It’s really pleasing for the players because they’ve worked so hard during the season,” St Kilda coach Brett Ratten said.

“They’ve done a lot of hard work this year and just really pleased, not just to get back on the winners list, but play the way we want to play.”

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