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Stressed out: Sore foot sidelines big Freo forward

Matt Taberner will miss at least a month with a stress reaction in his foot - AFL,Injuries,Fremantle Dockers,Matt Taberner,Sean Darcy,Hayden Ballantyne,Stephen Hill,Harley Bennell
Matt Taberner will miss at least a month with a stress reaction in his foot

FREMANTLE tall forward Matt Taberner's stop-start career has again hit a frustrating road block, with another stress-related foot injury set to keep him out for eight weeks.

The 25-year-old pulled up sore after the seven-point loss to Essendon at Marvel Stadium, in another blow to the Dockers' big-man stocks after confirmation ruck Sean Darcy (ankle) will be out of action for at least a month.  

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Taberner's impressive start to 2018, when he kicked six goals and took 16 contested marks, was cut short by a broken metatarsal early in round five against the Bulldogs.

The 71-gamer only made it back by round 20 and has now gone down with a stress reaction in his left foot after booting 13 goals in nine games.

"It's probably built over the past couple of weeks but it really only reared its head over the game at Marvel Stadium over the weekend," high performance manager Jason Weber said. 

"It's the first time we've become aware of it, he's had an MRI and it's been diagnosed and it's going to be quite a number of weeks at this point.

"It is the same foot (as 2018) and while it's not specifically related to that incident, it's undeniable that a mixture of his particular mechanics in running and the nature of the job he does and where he does it, have combined to produce another stress reaction."

Taberner's setback might spare Brennan Cox the selection axe after a quiet five-disposal effort against the Bombers, while hybrid tall Cam McCarthy will hope to return against Brisbane on Sunday after two weeks out of the line-up.

Darcy's ankle problem from Peel's loss to Claremont could leave recruit Rory Lobb carrying the ruck load for at least a month with veteran Aaron Sandilands (calf) out indefinitely.

"Sean was pushed while he was jumping in the air, it was general contact and not anything unseemly, but he landed very awkwardly, so he has a nasty ankle injury ... he's going to be at least four to six weeks," Weber said.

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In better news for Freo, injury-plagued Harley Bennell is set for his latest comeback attempt for the Thunder against West Perth this Saturday.

It would be his first appearance for 2019 after several calf issues this year.

"As long as he gets through all of training this week (he can play)," Weber said.

"Harley trained really strongly on the weekend … so we're hoping to see him back and on the field."

 

In other news, veteran small forward Hayden Ballantyne (hamstring), Stephen Hill (quad) and draftee Sam Sturt (concussion) are on track to return within the next three weeks.

"Stephen progressed really well at the weekend. He's worked towards some game-type work. We look forward to trying to get him into football this week and progressing from there," Weber said.

"Hayden's doing a fantastic job, he's moving really hard.

"Probably the toughest thing is keeping him within his speed brackets at the moment, he's really up and about and ready to go so he's only a couple of weeks away."

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