Fremantle look likely to be without one of their key defenders for the start of the finals with Garrick Ibbotson once again set to miss Saturday’s clash with Port Adelaide due to an Achilles problem.
The rebounding backman has been ruled out of the last three matches with the injury that he picked-up in the round 19 clash at Carlton and the issue is now becoming a major concern for the coaching staff, as it was previously thought that he would miss just one week of action.
The 2013 AFL season has been one of 25-year-old’s most impressive for the Dockers and he previously looked like a major contender for All-Australian honours.
However, he aside from missing Saturday’s encounter it is still unclear whether he’ll be ready for the start of next month’s finals, an issue that is starting to frustrate coach Ross Lyon.
“He’s starting to get to the concerning stage, which is disappointing for Garrick and us,” Lyon said on Thursday. “They just tell me he’s still sore. I just get frustrated.
“You can’t go in with players that are underdone. But Garrick is a great athlete who has played nearly every game for two years.”
Ibbotson’s continued problems have come at an inopportune time for Fremantle but things are starting to look up with the news that ruckman Aaron Sandilands, utility Clancee Pearce and goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne all look set to return for next week’s clash with St Kilda, boosting their odds in the AFL betting.
Sandilands underwent surgery on a cheek injury on Thursday and is likely to wear a protective headguard when he returns.
Lyon admits his players have had some fun at Sandiland’s choice of protection but the coach insists that he is happy for his man to wear the guard to ensure he doesn’t suffer further damage.
“All players aren’t thrilled with it,” he added. “But I think we’ve all matured and it doesn’t matter what you look like, it’s about what’s best for you.”