Craig White, left, and Ryan Murphy are the only fit players left from South Fremantle s leadership group
Craig White, left, and Ryan Murphy are the only fit players left from South Fremantle's leadership group

Craig White and Ryan Murphy hope to avoid a captain's curse when South Fremantle host Claremont at Fremantle Oval tomorrow.

The co-captains are the last members of the club's leadership group following a spate of injuries which threatened to derail South's finals hopes after a promising start in which they won five of six games.

Skipper Jaymie Graham won't play again this year after dislocating his left knee on April 30 and full-back Sam Hunt, a vice-captain, retired after injuring a knee in a pre-season game.

A key member of the 2009 premiership side, Hunt has returned to Melbourne, while '09 teammate Graham has had a knee reconstruction and is considering his future.

Murphy was in doubt for tomorrow's clash with an ankle injury, the former Fremantle forward having missed the round-eight loss to West Perth on May 7.

But football manager Brent Dawkins said he expected Murphy to take his place and, with White, be a worthy skipper.

White played in the club's 2005 and 2009 premiership sides, while ex-Docker Murphy was a member of the team which won the '09 grand final against Subiaco by 18 points.

"Whitey has played 130 games of WAFL footy and Murphy has played at AFL level and is pushing up towards 100 games with South Fremantle as well," Dawkins said.

"Ryan and Craig have got experience from different levels which will definitely help them out in their leadership roles for the remainder of the year with Jaymie Graham and Sam Hunt out."

Dawkins said South Fremantle had no shortage of senior WAFL players who could provide on-field leadership in the absence of Graham and Hunt.

"Ryan and Craig are the two guys on the day who will be captain," he said.

"But if you go through our list and have a look at guys who have played a lot of football across all levels, like Kris Miller, Hayden North, Toby McGrath and Andrew McCarrey.

"We are a mature list anyway and have a lot of leadership across the board which will help Ryan and Craig in their duties week in and week out."

Long-time skipper McGrath and tall utility player Paul Mugambwa are both expected to line up against the Tigers after each missed the second half of the Falcons match with ankle injuries.

The Bulldogs will also be boosted by the return of former Docker Paul Hasleby who has recovered from a quad injury.

Nathan Phillips is expected to resume in the reserves after a knee reconstruction and Damian Hayward (ribs) is due back shortly.

Phillips, 22, has not played since landing awkwardly in South Fremantle's match against Peel at Rockingham's Anniversary Park in round four last year.

"All the other injured guys are starting to filter back now which is pleasing," Dawkins said. "Getting a few back adds some depth to the reserves and puts pressure on the guys at league level, which is good."

Dawkins said the exception was teenage forward Shane Kersten who was likely to miss two months due to an elbow injury.

"We are a mature list anyway and have a lot of leadership across the board which will help Ryan and Craig in their duties week in and week out." "Football manager Brent Dawkins

The West Australian

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