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Mixed news for Dockers on injured players

Stephen Hill has been ruled out of Fremantle's trip to the SCG - AFL,Stephen Hill,Michael Walters,Nathan Wilson,Fremantle Dockers
Stephen Hill has been ruled out of Fremantle's trip to the SCG

FREMANTLE has ruled out Stephen Hill from Saturday night's clash with Sydney, but coach Ross Lyon expects star goalkicker Michael Walters and Nathan Wilson to return for the SCG trip.

Hill will miss a second match after suffering from quad tightness late in the round seven loss to Richmond, while there is a watch on superstar Nat Fyfe, who is battling knee soreness.
Fyfe tested out his knee in running exercises at Cockburn on Thursday, but the Dockers expect the skipper to play.

Walters trained with the main group after dealing with an injury to a ligament that supports his kneecap since the round six Western Derby, and Wilson is set to return from back soreness.

"Stephen Hill won't play, Walters and Wilson (we are) really optimistic on, if they get through training, which we think they will, they'll play," Lyon said.

"(Hill) hasn't progressed as quickly as we'd like. It's just a fascial injury, but that high-end range of speed and movement he's just been restricted on.

"We're optimistic and remain optimistic for next week."

The Dockers will be searching for their first interstate win after three disappointing road losses against finals contenders Port Adelaide, GWS and Richmond. 

While Lyon pointed out the youth of his rebuilding side – with six players under 10 games' experience last round – he also acknowledged Freo needs to dig in away from Optus Stadium.

At 4-4, the Dockers' finals hopes are alive, but they face a tough month with North Melbourne (home), Collingwood (away) and Adelaide (home) to come.

"We've spoken about we want to be a team that performs everywhere," he said.

"We've got to go away with a really strong mindset, be a tight-knit group, get to the SCG and compete fiercely."

Lyon hoped Fremantle's lengthy list of injuries would subside in coming weeks, with Lee Spurr (knee) and Griffin Logue (foot) close to resuming.

Doig medallist Bradley Hill is "loading up" after being restricted to Alter-G running due to bone bruising in his knee.

However, the wingman doesn't have a timeframe to return and, once fit, will play his first game since round two back at Peel as part of his club-imposed suspension for an incident involving police at a Scarborough nightspot earlier this month.

"Good people sometimes get it wrong. He sits in that basket," Lyon said.

"He'll work his way through, he's been, overall, fantastic for us as a club."

Lyon spoke glowingly about Harley Bennell's progress after his latest calf setback, with the injury-plagued star set to build up to about 60-70 minutes for the Thunder this Saturday, if he is cleared to play after suffering a perforated eardrum.

Bennell is likely to need another three matches at WAFL level before being considered for an AFL comeback.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed," Lyon said.

"I need to send her a box of chocolates – the physiotherapist from the ballet – what she's done with him has really contributed strongly and complemented the program we had in place.

"He's actually running as freely and with high-end speed and power as we've seen since he's been here.

"If that can keep happening we can all start to get a little bit excited.

"The kid's been to hell and back. Under a lot of scrutiny, sometimes brought upon himself, sometimes not fair, not accurate.

"But he'll just keep working through. He's showed great resilience and we don't want to lose players with his level of talent out of the game for whatever reason.

"In recent history, there's been some sad stories. We don't want another one."