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Docker shock as star could make miracle return

Michael Walters finished last Sunday's win over Carlton on the bench - AFL,Fremantle Dockers,Michael Walters,Nat Fyfe
Michael Walters finished last Sunday's win over Carlton on the bench
We have an open mind with Michael and will see how he responds during the week
Freo's senior physiotherapist Jeff Boyle

FREMANTLE gun Michael Walters is a shock chance to line-up against the Cats in Geelong on Saturday, despite previously being ruled out for the season by coach Ross Lyon.

Meanwhile, superstar skipper Nat Fyfe is set to be back from his hamstring strain for a potential head-to-head battle with fellow Brownlow medallist Patrick Dangerfield.

Lyon expected Walters would miss the final two rounds after appearing to ping his hamstring late in Sunday's come-from-behind win over Carlton.

But further investigation has revealed Walters' hamstring is not torn, and the Dockers' leading goalkicker will be treated for a lower buttock complaint in a bid to face the Cats.

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"At the moment, we have an open mind with Michael and will see how he responds during the week," senior physiotherapist Jeff Boyle said.

Fyfe's inclusion for the first time in seven weeks would be a major fillip for Freo ahead of the challenging trip to GMHBA Stadium.

If he is fit, it would only be the second time Fyfe and Dangerfield have faced off since their memorable battle at Adelaide Oval when the Dangerfield was still a Crow three seasons ago.

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"Nat has still got to get through his football training this week. There will be a final training session on Thursday, so if he gets through that OK he'll be free to play," Boyle said.

The Dockers have lost four of their past five games to Geelong, although they fell only two points short of a major upset at the Cattery last season when Walters sprayed a last-gasp shot wide.

Freo will test second-year defender Luke Ryan ahead of the trip after he played through left hamstring soreness against the Blues.

Key defender Joel Hamling (calf) is another week away, leaving the tough job on Geelong full-forward Tom Hawkins to Alex Pearce.

Warhorse ruckman Aaron Sandilands will miss his eighth straight game due to a calf complaint but is expected to be available in round 23 against Collingwood – which could be a farewell game for several veterans.

Sandilands and goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne's futures are yet to be revealed, with their management continuing discussions about playing on in 2019.  

 

Meanwhile, Harley Bennell's chances of adding to his two Freo appearances could be dashed for 2018, with the injury-plagued midfielder still without a timeframe to return from his latest calf setback late last month. 

"I was confident it was only going to be a week but he hasn't progressed as smoothly," coach Ross Lyon told 6PR radio.

"He's got 10 games of (WAFL) footy under his belt (this year) so he's clearly in a better position.

"It's a challenge, but if we can get him up and find a solution we know we've got one of the best players in Australia going around.

"We're aiming for him to try and play this week, but I'm not sure."

Earlier on Tuesday, the Dockers announced the re-signings of rookie defender Taylin Duman and first-year forward Hugh Dixon.

Duman will be upgraded to the senior list after putting pen to paper for next year on the back of a career-best 27 disposal performance against Carlton.

Dixon has also added one extra season to his initial two-year draftee contract, keeping the yet-to-debut Tasmanian in the west until 2020.