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Dockers giant out of Crows clash

Football

Fremantle’s hopes of beating Adelaide on Saturday night have been dealt a massive blow after ruckman Aaron Sandilands was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

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Dockers coach Ross Lyon said Sandilands experienced hamstring tightness following last week’s win over Carlton, and wouldn’t be risked against the Crows at Adelaide Oval.

Young forward Ed Langdon will also miss the match with a knee injury, with Jon Griffin set to come into the side to face his old team.

Lyon is hopeful Sandilands will miss only one week with the injury.

“He’s just tightened up in the hammy,” Lyon said today.

“It’s just a bit weaker than we would have liked. The scan was clear, but it was a bit weaker. We need to get him strong again.”

Griffin hasn’t played since the 89-point loss to Port Adelaide in round two.

The 31-year-old has been forced to play second fiddle to Sandilands during his seven-year career at the Dockers, and has often struggled to play in tandem with the 211cm big man when given the chance since crossing from the Crows.

But the 92-game veteran has performed solidly when entrusted with the role as the No.1 ruckman whenever Sandilands has been injured, and Lyon said he expects Griffin to put in a strong display against Adelaide ruckman Sam Jacobs.

“Jon plays with a real passion and he’s carried the No.1 ruck spot many years ago for us when Aaron’s been out, and done really well,” Lyon said.

“So we don’t expect any different.”

The Crows have their own injury concerns, with pacy midfielder Curtly Hampton set for a stint on the sidelines with an ankle injury sustained in Saturday’s big win over Brisbane, while All Australian defender Brodie Smith also has to prove his fitness after sitting out the final quarter with hamstring tightness.

“It was fairly precautionary and he’s feeling quite good early this week,” Crows High Performance manager Matt Hass told the club’s website yesterday.

“He’ll need to train with the group [today] and pass a fitness test later in the week.”

Emerging midfielder/forward Riley Knight is in the frame to replace him, while fringe-dweller goalsneak Troy Menzel is also on the comeback from injury.

Port Adelaide, meanwhile, will summon Aaron Young as the replacement for injured Chad Wingard for tomorrow night’s crunch match against the Cats.

Wingard is expected to miss a fortnight because of a calf injury and coach Ken Hinkley hopes Young can help fill the void for the away trip to Geelong – where the Power hasn’t won for a decade.

“I’m sure Youngy would like to think he can replace Chad so we’ll wait and see but Chad is a pretty good player,” Hinkley told reporters today, before the team jetted out from Adelaide Airport.

-AAP

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