Fremantle coach Ross Lyon confessed the club will have to conduct an investigation in to what is ailing Aaron Sandilands after the star ruckman sustained a fresh foot injury early in the Dockers' gritty 12-point over Richmond at the MCG on Saturday.
Sandilands had to be subbed out of the contest when the match was only a few minutes old after he hurt his 'good' foot.
The Fremantle giant was troubled last year by a condition affectionately known as 'turf toe' which affected a ligament in his big left toe.
But Lyon couldn't shed any light on what Sandilands' latest affliction is, casting doubt over his availability for Fremantle's next match against Essendon in a fortnight.
"We clearly need to (conduct) investigations, it's something around his foot area, (we're) not sure (what the problem is)," Lyon said of Sandilands post-match.
Sandilands' exit from the clash so early could have spelt disaster for the Dockers but back-up ruckman Jonathon Griffin rose to the challenge with aplomb, racking up 44 hitouts against his in-form counterpart Ivan Maric and playing a key role in ensuring Fremantle won the clearance count 45-44.
"He (Griffin) came in and really toiled manfully and grabbed his opportunity and it's reward for his preparation that when the moment came, the man came and it was terrific," Lyon said.
Fremantle laid a club record 117 tackles on the way to smashing Richmond (82) in that department while they also broke even in contested possessions (173-173) in slippery conditions at a rain-soaked MCG.
And Lyon was full of praise for the way his team, in particular six-goal hero Matthew Pavlich, approached the crucial clash against Richmond who, like the Dockers, had a win-loss record of 5-5 beforehand.
"We came to give great effort, really work hard in the contest (and) I thought to a man we did that," Lyon said.
"I thought Matthew really led from the front. When you come interstate, you really need your leaders in particular, everyone's hungry to be led and I thought Matthew's been doing that and he got reward for his persistence of giving effort at training with hitting the scoreboard.
"I thought we worked our way with great effort into the contest ... To come to the MCG, interstate, (in) wet (conditions) is something we want to be able to do and we got it done."
Pavlich said the gutsy performance showed the Dockers could perform well in any state and in any conditions.
"We feel as though we're an 'any-time-any-place' sort of team, regardless of the conditions," Pavlich said.
"There's a few people out there that might have seen the conditions and (being) at the MCG and thought (Fremantle were) no chance."
"But we had a real inner belief about the way we play and, regardless of the last three weeks, particularly last week, we thought we took some steps forward and it's pleasing to go into the break where we are after that performance today."
Lyon's game plan has copped a lot of flak in recent weeks, but the first-year Fremantle boss now believes he is getting a better understanding of the capabilities of his playing group.
"I know when I went to the Swans as an assistant it took me 12 months to understand that midfield and there's no doubt when I got my (first) senior job (at St Kilda) it took me 12 months to understand that group," Lyon said."We're sorting the chaff from the wheat as we go ... understanding capabilities and that's a work in progress and I think it can work both ways with a new coaching group as well coming together and just getting each other a little bit and that takes time to build that trust."