An undersized Fremantle defence will be put to the test against Port Adelaide’s attacking arsenal tomorrow, with key defender Griffin Logue sidelined by injury.
Logue, the latest player to go down with a calf niggle in the wake of the Dockers’ recent hub stay on the Gold Coast, did not fly to Adelaide with his teammates this morning and will be replaced in the side by emergency Taylin Duman.
It means Fremantle have lost both bookends from the thrilling win over Sydney last weekend, with spearhead Matt Taberner missing due to an ankle injury.
Logue has been used on the opposition’s most dangerous key forward since he returned to the team in round five and had a career-high 13 intercept possessions as Lance Franklin booted six goals on him against the Swans.
It leaves Brennan Cox with the task on All-Australian Charlie Dixon, with the Dockers also needing to contain 198cm key forward Todd Marshall and impressive third tall Mitch Georgiades.
Logue is expected to be fit for next Sunday’s home clash with the Western Bulldogs.
Fremantle football operations general manager Joe Brierty conceded the loss of Logue had come at a bad time, but backed an undermanned backline led by Cox and Doig medallist Luke Ryan.
“Brennan, Luke and Taylin can all play tall and share the load down there,” Brierty said.
“But it’s really going to come down to the pressure on the ball from a midfield perspective and ensuring it’s not coming in too fast and easy.”
Midfielder Andrew Brayshaw will return from his own calf injury against the Power, while Ryan, Adam Cerra, Mitch Crowden, Michael Frederick and Brett Bewley have also had calf injuries this season.
Brierty said the club was mindful of the number of recent calf issues, which came after coach Justin Longmuir’s warning that players had pulled up sore following their hub stint on the Gold Coast and a game at Marvel Stadium.
“They’ve all been at the minor end. It’s probably an accumulation of those things, but it’s something that definitely we’ll be monitoring closely because we have had a few over the last few weeks,” Brierty said.
Star veteran Michael Walters played his best game for the season against the Swans after Brayshaw’s absence allowed him to start in the centre square.
Brierty said the Dockers were keen to give Walters more time on the ball even with Brayshaw back, with captain Nat Fyfe in line to go forward more given the absence of Taberner.
“Andy’s good to go. It’s fantastic to have him back after a week off with a calf,” he said.
“He obviously adds a fair bit to our midfield group and also gives us some flexibility with that group as well, with Dave Mundy and Sonny (Walters) and Nat who can spend time forward at times.”