Fremantle midfielder Michael Barlow has Aaron Sandilands’ latest absence with a foot injury is a massive loss for the club.
Sandilands, 29, will miss up to 10 weeks after suffering a repeat of the turf toe injury that sidelined him for half of last season.
The Dockers are yet to determine whether he will have surgery.
Sandilands injured the big toe on his right foot against Richmond, having hurt his opposite foot in near identical circumstances in 2011.
His loss means the ruck load will shift to Jonathon Griffin and fellow understudy Zac Clarke.
“It’s really disappointing for Aaron personally and definitely for us as a midfield group and a collective,” Barlow said.
“Aaron handles himself so well, so we’re confident he can get himself back up and going towards the end of the year.
“But in saying that Jon Griffin was able to carry the load on Saturday. He’s actually been in really good form and probably just a victim of circumstance a little bit throughout the year.
“He’s been under the pump a little bit with selection and the right balance of our midfield. When he’s in, he’s been going really well and I think the weekend really illustrates that.
“We’re confident that he can contribute and be in our best 22 even when Aaron gets back.”
Barlow said last Saturday’s 12-point victory over Richmond was one of the best wins of his 33-game career.
“It’s probably been well speculated that our form has dropped off a bit over the last month,” Barlow said.
“Our backs were to the wall and a lot was made of our MCG record. It was only my second game there personally, but guys like Pav have played a lot of footy there and probably for limited success.
“To come and put in a four quarter effort and get a good win against Richmond who have been up and about and playing some really good footy was fantastic for us.”