25 July, 2024
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Alex Pearce injured as Dockers beat Suns in Perth

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Fremantle will be sweating on the fitness of Alex Pearce after the star skipper injured his left arm during his side’s 20-point AFL win over Gold Coast at Optus Stadium.

The Dockers’ midfield produced an unexpected glut of goals to help the hosts to a 12.13 (85) to 10.5 (65) win in front of 40,637 fans on Sunday.

The result lifted Fremantle (8-5-1) into fifth spot, while Gold Coast (7-7) have slipped to 12th following back-to-back losses.

Fremantle’s premiership mettle will be severely tested when they take on leaders Sydney at the SCG next Saturday.

And they may be without Pearce, whose elbow briefly bent the wrong way when he came crashing to the turf late in the third quarter.

Pearce immediately made his way to the bench and was subbed out of the game, with coach Justin Longmuir revealing they are more concerned about the defender’s arm rather than the elbow.

“Clearly he was worried about it coming off, but I don’t think the doc’s found anything clearcut,” Longmuir said. 

“We’ll have to wait and see how it pulls up and see whether it needs a scan. I’m unsure of the next step.

“(It’s) next man up. We’re a role-driven team. If a seat on the boat opens up we replace it with someone of like.

“I’m not ruling Pearcey out though. He’s tough. Hopefully there’s no structural damage and hopefully we get some good news.”

Brennan Cox made a successful return from hamstring surgery via the WAFL reserves, but Longmuir won’t risk the star defender at AFL level just yet. 

It means Josh Draper is likely to earn a recall against the Swans if Pearce is ruled out. 

Longmuir accused his players of stuffing their stats book during last week’s 67-point loss to the Western Bulldogs.

They did it again on Sunday – but in the best possible way this time.

Goals from the midfield have been rare for Fremantle this season, but Hayden Young (three goals), Caleb Serong (one goal), Andrew Brayshaw (one goal) and ruckman Sean Darcy (one goal) all hit the scoreboard.

Young
 Midfielder Hayden Young (c) kicked three goals for the Dockers. Image by Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS 

Nat Fyfe almost scored a goal as well, only for his close-range snap in the third quarter to drift just wide. 

Darcy finished with 12 clearances to go with his 20 disposals and 39 hitouts, while Treacy (two goals, three contested marks) was a bullocking presence in attack. 

Gold Coast winger Wil Powell, playing his first match since serving a five-game ban for a homophobic slur, finished with 22 disposals, three score assists and 523m gained.

Powell
 Wil Powell (l) competed strongly in his return from a ban. Image by Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS 

Gold Coast entered the match with a 7-0 home record this season but a 0-5 return on the road. 

That road record for 2024 now stands at 0-6, and it’s seriously compromising their chances of making the finals for the first time. 

“We’ve got to win (on the road) at some stage, there’s no question about that,” Gold Coast coach Damien Hardwick said. 

“There’s some things in the game that we did reasonably well but there’s some areas that we certainly need to improve as well.”

Treacy
 Josh Treacy soars for a spectacular mark. Image by Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS 

Matt Rowell (23 disposals, 10 clearances) caused Fremantle some early troubles in the midfield as Gold Coast kicked the opening two goals.

Young’s snap and Treacy’s big pack mark and goal gave the Dockers a three-point lead at quarter time, and Fremantle kicked four goals to one in the second term to open up a 23-point lead by the long break.

The Dockers led by 34 points at the final change, and they were able to hold off Gold Coast’s belated comeback. 

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