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Beware the wounded Fremantle Dockers

Roar Rookie
27th June, 2011
10
2001 Reads
Adam McPhee of the Dockers celebrates their win after the AFL Round 05 ANZAC Day match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Western Bulldogs at Patersons Stadium, Perth. Slattery Images

Adam McPhee of the Dockers celebrates their win after the AFL Round 05 ANZAC Day match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Western Bulldogs at Patersons Stadium, Perth. Slattery Images

The Urban Dictionary describes ‘Wounded Bird Syndrome’ as a device which young males use to attract women. When injured, either emotionally or physically, it is said to be an effective, if devious, way of getting dates.

The Fremantle Dockers may be chasing women, or may have broken a ship load of mirrors, but either way the injury list is the most extensive in the AFL.

Perhaps the calvary is still recovering but fans are hoping it may arrive just in time for Fremantle to make a serious dent on this year’s finals. After an injury plagued pre-season, it was expected that the side from the port would have a solid second half to the 2011 season leading into the finals.

However, the injury list has gone from bad to crippling with up to 11 of their best 22 players now on the sidelines.

The biggest toe in the AFL has received intense scrutiny, and with the Dockers grit filled win over Brisbane it still had a tale to tell. While Aaron Sandilands was influential in the first half, it was not until he went off with another suspected injury to his ‘turf toe’ injury that Freo began to win the clearances.

The predictability of Sandy winning the ruck was playing into Brisbane’s hands. With a ready and reliable replacement in Griffin rested for the week, expect Fremantle to deal with the inexperienced other side from Queensland.

It is from there that season gets interesting for the nervous fan. A bye will come late, but welcome, and then it gets hard. With games against top eight and top four sides coming up, slipping into the finals wont be easy, but is possible with none of the sides out of the eight showing much consistency.

If everything goes right, Fremantle will have the return of Ballyntyne, Sandilands, Suban, Mzungu, Barlow, Grover, McPharlin and Mundy to provide momentum into the finals. Assuming they finish sixth, the likely result, and secure a home final, anything is possible from there.

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With Matthew Pavlich showing glimpses of his All Australian form, Palmer finally finding a role in tagging which suits his skill set and players like Bradley, Duffield and Johnson increasing their value to the side, things may not be as grim as appear at the moment.

It may be a nervous side facing a team which looks dramatically more experienced than it has for most of the season.