UPDATE 2.30pm: Livewire Hayden Ballantyne has had surgery on a broken jaw in a body blow to Fremantle’s hopes of toppling Geelong at Patersons Stadium this Saturday night.
The club confirmed in a statement this morning that Ballantyne had required the operation after sustaining the injury in Saturday’s 18-point defeat to league leaders Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.
The 26-year-old Docker sustained the break in a collision with direct opponent and the round’s Rising Star nominee Jarman Impey in the final term.
Ballantyne went for scans in Subiaco yesterday. It is believed he has had a plate inserted in his jaw.
The operation will almost certainly rule the dangerous forward out of Matthew Pavlich’s milestone 300th match against the Cats despite assertions from the club this morning that he was still a chance to line-up for the Dockers.
Despite surgery, Fremantle football operations general manager Chris Bond said Ballantyne would be available to play against the Cats as long as he passed a fitness test this week.
“Hayden is determined to be back out playing as soon as he can,” Bond said.
This was backed up by skipper Matthew Pavlich, who plays his 300th AFL game on Saturday.
“He is doing everything he can,” Pavlich said. “He is desperate to play."
Pavlich rated defenders Luke McPharlin and Zac Dawson, as "50-50 chances" for the weekend after the pair missed the loss to Port through injury.
Pavlich said family and friends from Adelaide were making the trip over for the game as he prepares to become the first WA-based player to reach the 300-game mark.
The Dockers captain said he was trying to keep his routine as normal as possible.
“I guess we are trying to get most of it out early in the week and then focused on what we need to do and prepare in a manner that’s professional and that’s needed for a big game which is going to be on Saturday night,” he said.
“I am looking forward to having everyone there and celebrating with them post game but also with all the staff and the players as well.”
Pavlich said the achievement would mean a lot to his loved ones who have watched him toil over 15 years in the competition.
“It clearly highlights there has been an enormous amount of dedication on my behalf and desire to continue to play at a high level and represent the footy club but I think mum and dad and (wife) Lauren will really get the most of it seeing me run out there on Saturday,” he said.
“If we can get 43,000 on the weekend and they are screaming as hard for victory as we're playing, it would be fantastic.”