Fremantle’s finals hopes have been dealt a huge blow, with star defender Alex Pearce ruled out for the rest of the AFL season with a fractured left ankle.
Pearce suffered the injury during Saturday’s four-point win over Collingwood, with subsequent scans revealing the worst.
It’s a bitter blow for Pearce and Fremantle.
Pearce has been in the form of his life this season and had been on track to earn a maiden All-Australian jumper.
The 23-year-old endured 672 days on the sidelines between 2016-18 after breaking his right leg twice, with the injuries taking a toll on his mental health during that period.
For Fremantle, they have lost one of their best and most-reliable defenders for the rest of the year.
The Dockers improve their record to 6-5 with the win over Collingwood, and their soft draw in the back end of the year has given them a good chance of ending their three-year finals drought.
Griffin Logue leads the contenders to replace Pearce.
Logue has also been plagued by injuries, with the 21-year-old’s last AFL appearance coming in round 22, 2017 – his debut season.
Fremantle football operations manager Peter Bell was saddened by Pearce’s injury.
“Alex has been in outstanding form, and virtually trouble-free since returning from that long layoff after twice breaking his leg,” Bell said.
“While it is frustrating for Alex, we know how incredibly resilient and diligent he has proven to be in the past when it comes to recovering from a long-term injury.
“We are confident that Alex will tackle this latest setback with the same level of determination and drive, so he can be back playing as soon as possible.”
In further bad news for Fremantle, fringe midfielder Stefan Giro is also out for the season after rupturing the ACL in his left knee while playing for Peel Thunder in the WAFL.
But Harley Bennell is closing in on an AFL recall after putting in another star display for Peel.
A week after tallying 30 disposals and two goals, Bennell finished with 25 disposals and five marks in a 41-point loss to Subiaco.