Injuries to key players may have as great an impact on Fremantle as its 69-point loss to Geelong at Optus Stadium on Thursday night.
Nat Fyfe (shoulder), Rory Lobb (ankle) and Blake Acres (leg) either struggled to get through the game or didn’t.
All three will battle throughout this week to be fit for round 19.
But the biggest blow of all is the potential loss of ruckman Sean Darcy.
The 23-year-old looked like he played hurt for most of the second half – a knee the main cause of concern.
Until then, he was arguably the best player on the ground.
He didn’t make it to the final siren but was still Fremantle’s best player. After signing a two-year contract extension midweek, he was arguably the Dockers’ only good player over the four quarters.
Nat Fyfe has his shoulder assessed. Picture: Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Darcy finished with 18 disposals, 14 contested possessions, 37 hit outs and eight clearances.
But he looks certain to miss at least one game, depending on what scans to his knee uncover.
“Our fingers are crossed it‘s not serious. He looks like he’s done a bit of damage to his MCL,” coach Justin Longmuir said.
“We‘ll get it scanned tomorrow, but fingers crossed it’s not a serious injury.
“It‘s a new injury. The reason why he straps his knee is because of the injury he had three or four years ago.
“He did it early in the fourth quarter, and we‘re obviously not going to take any risks with someone like that.
“He was one guy who could hold his head high. If it wasn‘t for him, I think the scoreboard and the game would have looked a bit different.”
The way the Dockers lost against the Cats was against the way the Dockers and their fans thought they were heading.
They were sitting in 11th spot in round 12 after five losses in six weeks. But three wins in four rounds leading into Thursday night catapulted them into the seventh spot.
Losing Sean Darcy (left) would be another blow to the Dockers. Picture: Paul Kane/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
They have now dropped to eighth, their percentage smashed and their confidence rocked.
Their hold on the top eight has no strength at all.
Longmuir acknowledged the club’s poor performances over the season against quality sides – having lost now to Melbourne, West Coast, Brisbane, Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs.
“This could be one of our greatest lessons and learning curves and we need to treat it like that,” he said,” he said.
“We just got taught a lesson around the contest and taught a lesson on how to stick to the game plan and execute the basics under pressure.
“We need to be better. This is not the first time against good opposition that we‘ve faltered.
“I thought a number of our players got shown up in the contest tonight. We didn’t have an even contribution when it comes to the little things like putting your head over the ball and taking the ball cleanly.
“Against better sides when the momentum is against us they score heavily. That was the case again tonight.”
The Dockers don’t have long to get things right against in-form sides, scheduled to meet Sydney in Geelong next Saturday.
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