Colin Sylvia leads a long list of Fremantle players under injury clouds after Peel dropped the first battle of the aligned WAFL clubs to West Coast’s partner East Perth by 19 points on Saturday afternoon.
Sylvia, who had been playing his best game since joining the Dockers from Melbourne, suffered a quad injury in the second quarter and didn’t emerge from the rooms after half-time.
The length of the injury is unknown, but the 28-year-old was seen walking around in the rooms with little discomfort after the game.
Fellow Dockers Max Duffy (shoulder) and Tanner Smith (hamstring) are also facing long periods on the sidelines in a terrible result for the club’s fringe players.
Rookie Sam Menegola limped from the field with a knee injury in the third quarter but returned to run out the game.
Eagles forward Simon Tunbridge started brightly for the Royals but was taken to hospital after a head knock in the second quarter.
Further details of his condition are expected to be released tomorrow.
The heavy injury toll before half-time left the Thunder vulnerable and the Royals took full advantage, running out 12.11 (83) to 9.10 (64) winners at Bendigo Bank Stadium.
Brant Colledge shone the brightest for the visiting side, running through the midfield and having a hand in a number of goals, including one of his own.
Brad Sheppard, named as an emergency for the Eagles’ match with Western Bulldogs tomorrow, Jeremy McGovern, Adam Carter and Royals veteran Craig Wulff were also important.
Anthony Morabito was outstanding for Peel in his first official game back after a third knee reconstruction last year, racking up 23 disposals off the half-back line and running out the game with strength while his teammates were fading.
Zac Clarke and Garrick Ibbotson didn’t miss a beat in their first game back from injury and should press for senior selection against Gold Coast next week, while second-year midfielder Josh Simpson played one of his best WAFL games yet.
While the Thunder showed signs, the dominance of the Royals couldn’t be denied.
Last year’s grand finalists won the disposal count, the inside-50s and the tackles, sending a message to the competition they may be ready to go one better this year.