Dockers sweat on injuries to star AFL trio

Justin Chadwick

Premiership wingman Brad Hill is set to make his AFL return this weekend as Fremantle sweat on the severity of injuries to Aaron Sandilands, Nat Fyfe and Alex Pearce.

Fyfe injured his right hamstring during last week's 55-point loss to Brisbane while Sandilands injured his right calf.

Pearce made his return from a broken thumb in that game, but reports have surfaced he has injured it again.

Scans are set to determine the extent of the damage suffered by the star trio.

The Dockers are hopeful Fyfe will only miss a few weeks while Sandilands could miss about a month if the tear isn't too bad.

Hill, who injured his knee in round two, is almost guaranteed to make his Dockers return in Saturday night's clash with Melbourne in Darwin after producing a 25-disposal effort in the WAFL last week.

The former Hawk had to play in the WAFL last week to serve his one-match AFL ban for his misdemeanour at a Perth night spot in May.

Hill also lost his spot in the club's leadership group over that incident.

The loss of Sandilands is set to open the door for Sean Darcy to make his return.

Darcy enjoyed a stunning start to his AFL career last season, but suffered a PCL injury to his left knee in April this year.

The 20-year-old has played in the past two WAFL games, racking up 12 disposals, 31 hit-outs and three goals for Peel Thunder last week.

If Pearce is ruled out again it could pave the way for veteran defender Michael Johnson to return to the side.

The door appeared to close on Johnson when coach Ross Lyon opted to up the ante on the team's youth policy following the round 10 loss to North Melbourne.

But if Lyon decides to inject some extra experience into the backline, Johnson could be given a lifeline.

Lyon was scathing of his team's insipid performance against the Lions and is demanding a far better display against the Demons.

Melbourne (8-6) have lost their past three matches and will need to beat the Dockers to keep their top-four hopes alive.