The West

Sandilands injury a chance for Griffin
Sandilands injury a chance for Griffin

A back injury to Fremantle ruckman Aaron Sandilands has opened the door for Jon Griffin to play his first game back from a knee reconstruction against St Kilda tomorrow, one of four changes made by coach Ross Lyon.

Griffin, Matt de Boer and Matt Taberner were named by the Dockers yesterday afternoon, with veteran defender Luke McPharlin also included after being sidelined with a calf injury last week.

Sandilands and Hayden Ballantyne (suspended) were the two forced changes to the side which beat Greater Western Sydney last Sunday. Clancee Pearce and first-year forward Michael Apeness were dropped.

Rookie Sam Menegola, who has yet to make his debut, flew as the travelling emergency after being upgraded to the senior list.

The Saints also made four changes for the Etihad Stadium encounter, bringing in Billy Longer, Josh Saunders, Josh Bruce and Brodie Murdoch.

They lost ruckman Tom Hickey to a knee injury and dropped Sam Dunell, Cameron Shenton and Sebastian Ross.

Fremantle football operations general manager Chris Bond said Sandilands' back issue was primarily soreness. He is expected to be available after next week's bye. "It's not major, but it's significant enough for him to miss the game," Bond told the club's website.

Griffin's inclusion marks his first senior game since injuring an anterior cruciate ligament against Collingwood in round seven last season.

Fremantle defender Paul Duff- ield will earn life membership of the club when he plays his 150th game since arriving as a rookie in 2004.

The 29-year-old from Darkan spent two years on the rookie list before playing his first game for the Dockers in the infamous failed-siren match against the Saints in 2006.

He said having to bide his time and force his way into the senior side made tomorrow's milestone all the more sweet.

"I wasn't overly talented and I'm still not. I'm a bit of a plodder," he said.

"But I had to work hard to keep improving and I guess if you keep knocking on the door long enough you don't just knock on it, you knock it down.

"At some stage I had to make the choice to knock it down and try to go forward with my career."

Duffield achieved the rare feat of having played in five premierships in five years, first with West Arthur in the Upper Great Southern league, then two colts, one reserves and one league premiership with South Fremantle.


"It's not major, but it's significant enough for him (Sandilands) to miss the game.""Fremantle football operations general manager *Chris Bond *

The West Australian

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