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Foot injury to end Docker forward's bright start

Lyon: 'We did a lot of things right' Ross Lyon says his team had "better connection" following a tough week for the club
Matt Taberner leaves the ground on Saturday night - AFL,Ross Lyon,Fremantle Dockers,Matt Taberner
Matt Taberner leaves the ground on Saturday night
We're not machines and there were some people feeling tonight
Ross Lyon

FREMANTLE spearhead Matthew Taberner's bright start to 2018 looks set to be stalled "for a while" after he suffered a suspected fractured metatarsal in Saturday night's 54-point belting of the Western Bulldogs.

Taberner was on fire early at Optus Stadium, taking five marks – three contested – and booting a goal before he was ushered to the rooms before quarter-time.

The 199cm former rookie failed to play any further part in the match and the Dockers now have some thinking to do about re-jigging their forward line for a mouth-watering Western Derby next Sunday.

DOCKERS V BULLDOGS: All the stats and stories

Taberner's injury is an untimely blow for the 24-year-old after he finally looked to have cemented his position.

"It's very disappointing, but he'll come back. He'll apply himself. AFL football is full of challenges and one of the difficult things is being available," coach Ross Lyon said post-match.

"We'll support him. He's such a hard worker that he'll come back. He was just starting to blossom in his career.

"I thought he was impacting really strongly, so we were disappointed to lose him.

"I'm out of my depth (how long he will be sidelined for), but I think fractures take a while."

The injury to Taberner, who was battling a plantar fascia issue during the week, could raise further questions about the hardness of Optus Stadium after debate has raged all week about the surface.

It was the only sour note on another excellent night for the Dockers at their new home venue.

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Fremantle has looked a potent force at Burswood, booting 106, 96 and 108 points in three games so far, with Lyon praising his side's pressure, ball movement and forward line connection against the Dogs. 

Superstar skipper Nat Fyfe led from the front and racked up a career-high 43 disposals with 13 clearances and a goal to prove he is in serious contention for another Brownlow Medal this year.

"Being an AFL captain is very difficult. He copped some criticism, I think unwarranted, early and the criticism went early on Nathan, but he's worked really hard and he'll become a great leader for this club," Lyon said.

Taylin Duman was composed in his first game, picking up 15 disposals, but managed veteran Michael Johnson could be in line for a recall against West Coast's tall forward line.

"It was horses for courses, the Dogs are very short and mobile. We knew that and we didn’t' really want to play three talls, so Michael needed to be managed, but the Eagles are tall and we may need to play him," Lyon said.

Lyon opened his media conference by passing on his condolences to Shane Yarran's family after the former Docker was found dead on Friday.

Five-goal hero Michael Walters made a poignant gesture by pointing to the sky and tapping his black armband after his first major in the opening term.

WATCH: Michael Walters pays tribute to Shane Yarran

 

"Everyone has different connections and I think we acknowledge strong connections," Lyon said.

"It's a very sad, heartbreaking story.

WATCH: Ross Lyon's full media conference

"It's been a difficult 24 hours for our football club and Western Australian football, and we really want to acknowledge the Yarran family and the passing of Shane Yarran.

"We want to put that win in context tonight that it was a difficult night, particularly for our Noongar and aboriginal players.

"It's been quite sobering to come here today. It highlights how fragile things can be. We're not machines and there were some people feeling tonight.

"But particularly the Subiaco Football Club, WA football and we just want to respect the Yarran family's privacy tonight as well."