The West

Ballantyne report gives Freo a headache
Hayden Ballantyne. Pic: Getty Images

Fremantle small forward Hayden Ballantyne can sit out another AFL match after being suspended for the second time this season by the league match review panel.

Ballantyne can accept a one-game sanction for striking Greater Western Sydney defender Tomas Bugg during the Dockers' win at Patersons Stadium yesterday.

It is Ballantyne's fifth suspension in two-and-a-half years.

Fremantle surged back into the top two, but Ballantyne's lack of discipline was the talking point after the victory.

Ballantyne starred with a game-high five goals in the Dockers' 76-point thrashing.

But the All-Australian contender's latest undisciplined act will cost the club again.

Dockers coach Ross Lyon said the report was "not ideal", but defended the club's leading goal kicker, who has booted a career-best 38 majors this year.

"He's been very good for us," Lyon said.

"I can only comment on his year. To be truthful, there's been a report, he's playing very good footy. We'll let that run its course.

"I really rate Hayden, value Hayden and every time he's available I'll pick Hayden."

Lyon had previously labelled Ballantyne "undisciplined" after he was suspended for one game for striking and kneeing Sydney's Rhyce Shaw in round five.

Fremantle lost their next match against North Melbourne at home in the forward's absence.

The positive for the Dockers in the short term is their draw, playing St Kilda (away) and Carlton (home) in their next two matches.

Fremantle booted seven of the match's final eight goals to earn a valuable extra five percentage points that could shape the top four come September.

Lyon said he would rather be in the top two with six matches to go than not, but warned the team needed to sustain its effort.

"In our run home Hawthorn sit there, Port sit there, Carlton, Geelong - there's some pretty significant challenges coming our way," Lyon said.

"But if you're any good, you've got to accept them and beat them."

Anthony Morabito was substituted into the match midway through the third quarter to rapturous applause. He finished with 15 possessions in the second match of his AFL comeback.

Lyon said the 22-year-old would play against the Saints at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

"To be fair I think we've handled Anthony well as a club," Lyon said.

"I think everybody got ahead of themselves and tried to bully us into picking him, but we pick a team when we're ready and that all died down then Anthony played, which was nice."

The West Australian

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