They’re normally arch enemies, but West Coast and Fremantle will join forces in an attempt to find a fix to the Optus Stadium surface riddle.
Both AFL clubs have been ravaged by foot, toe, or lower leg injuries over the past year, with many claiming the surface at the $1.6 billion stadium is too hard.
Ruckman Rory Lobb (foot fracture) is also expected to miss the rest of the year.
West Coast premiership stars Tom Barrass, Elliot Yeo, Jamie Cripps, and Willie Rioli have also been cut down by injury over the past 12 months, while Sydney superstar Lance Franklin pulled up with a sore heel there last year.
Even the NRL has become worried, with the organisation ordering an urgent report into the Optus Stadium surface ahead of next week’s historic State of Origin clash there.
The Dockers have temporarily suspended training at the venue, with no time frame put on returning there.
West Coast temporarily suspended training there earlier this season.
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon revealed on Thursday that his club will meet with West Coast to discuss the issue.
“Both clubs are going to get together and have a bit of a summit on it. Try and work forward,” Lyon said.
“We all acknowledge it (the surface) starts the year really hard because it’s a multi-purpose venue. It has concerts, I think it has motocross, it has cricket.
“Then it works it’s way in (to becoming a big softer).”
“We’ll cease training there in the meantime. We can control the surface here (at our training base in Cockburn) and (control our) footwear, and not panic about it.”
“But there’s no silver bullet here. Because if there was, it would have been fired and no one would be talking about it.”
Lyon resisted the temptation to recall Harley Bennell for Saturday’s clash with Port Adelaide in Perth, but he’s thrown his faith in fit-again trio Sean Darcy, Stephen Hill, and Griffin Logue.
Bennell has starred in two WAFL appearances since returning from long-term calf issues, and the former Sun will line up for Peel Thunder again.
Darcy will replace Lobb, while Logue comes in to replace Pearce.
Hill, who has been grounded by quad issues since round 20 last year, comes in for Adam Cerra (illness).
Port Adelaide made just one change, replacing Matthew Broadbent (mental health) for Hamish Hartlett, who will play his first AFL match since tearing his ACL early last year.