Fremantle will take on reigning premiers Geelong in an elimination final next week without Luke McPharlin after the star defender suffered a hamstring injury in the Dockers’ 61-point win over Melbourne at Patersons Stadium tonight.
McPharlin, who has been in outstanding form all season, appears certain to miss the Cats clash after being substituted out of the game midway through the third quarter.
He was put through a series of tests on the boundary line before applying ice to his right hamstring and held his head in his hands in an apparent realisation of the serious nature of the injury.
Dockers coach Ross Lyon can call on veteran Antoni Grover or out-of-favour Alex Silvagni to fill the void against the Cats after both played well in the WAFL this afternoon.
“We lost a big one tonight in McPharlin and watching Hawkins and Podsiadly today, that’s a bit of a loss,” Lyon said.
“We said we were prepared to lose one tonight to keep our standards high and that’s occurred.
“We’ll pick a team that we think will give us best opportunity.”
Fremantle’s 14th win of the season coupled with results earlier in the day left the port club in seventh place above North Melbourne on percentage after the Kangaroos could only beat bottom side Greater Western Sydney by 28 points.
The result means WA fans will have to wait for the first ever western derby final, which had looked on the cards leading into the final round of the season.
The Dockers overcame a sluggish start to post a 14.17 (101) to 5.10 (40) win over Melbourne, with captain Matthew Pavlich kicking two goals to draw level with Geelong’s Tom Hawkins on 62 goals at the top of the Coleman Medal leaderboard.
Only Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt, who has 59 goals with a game to play against lowly Port Adelaide tomorrow, can overtake the pair.
David Mundy (31 possessions), Nat Fyfe (30) and Michael Barlow (32) made the most of Aaron Sandilands’ work in the ruck and controlled the midfield contest for much of the night.
Sandilands had 34 hitouts to Melbourne ruckman Mark Jamar’s 28 and pushed forward to kick two goals from set shots.
The Dockers took control of the game in the latter stages of the second quarter, slamming on four unanswered goals to take a 32-point lead to the main break.
Goals to Mundy, Pavlich and two to Hayden Ballantyne saw the Dockers push the margin beyond 50 points in the third term as they killed the contest.
Ballantyne provided one of the highlights of the game when he hacked a goal out of mid air after fellow small forward Michael Walters flew high to go close to producing a contender for mark of the year.
McPharlin’s injury put a dampener on the result for Fremantle, who outscored their opponents again in the final term to run out easy winners.
They will meet Geelong at the MCG on Saturday night.