Injuries take toll, Dockers turn to youth

·2-min read

Fremantle will debut two players in Saturday's AFL clash with Gold Coast, while defender Alex Pearce and ruckman Sean Darcy have also been given the green light to play.

The Dockers will unveil defender Brandon Walker and midfielder Joel Western against the Suns, among five changes to the team.

Nat Fyfe (dislocated shoulder), Brennan Cox (torn hamstring), Nathan Wilson (suspended), Griffin Logue (concussion) and Connor Blakely (axed) all go out from the side that lost to the Bulldogs last week.

Darcy (hamstring tightness) and Mitch Crowden (AC joint) also suffered injury scares during that match, but have been cleared to play against the Suns in a rare dose of good news for the Dockers.

Pearce, who underwent scans on his wrist earlier in the week after a fall while playing in the WAFL, has been named for his first AFL match since injuring his knee in round one.

Reece Conca and Brett Bewley were also included, but spearhead Matt Taberner (ankle) will miss his third straight match.

Both Western (pick No.54) and Walker (pick No.50) were taken in last year's national draft after being part of the club's Next Generation Academy.

Their chance of senior footy has opened up following a crippling run of injuries to key players at the club.

Fremantle's injury list features 13 players.

Veteran Stephen Hill, who has been sidelined for the entire season because of a hamstring injury, was pencilled in to play some WAFL minutes this weekend.

But those plans have been scrapped after he suffered a setback at training last Saturday, with his future at the club now in grave doubt.

"Joel and I have been playing footy since about year six. It's been a while playing together and to debut on the same day, it's really cool," Walker said.

"I'm just so keen and I'm shaking right now."

Western had a sense that he might make his debut this week.

"It was really funny because last night I was actively dreaming about it, thinking I was playing and that I might be a chance," Western said.

"I didn't think much of it when I woke up but then coming into the club today, and seeing (coach Justin Longmuir announce) Walks' debut, it was just being so happy for him.

"Then to hear (Longmuir announce) another debutant I thought I was in the mix again. To hear my name called out was just a dream come true. I'm still pinching myself now."

Gold Coast will be boosted by the return of star midfielder Matt Rowell from a knee injury, while Jack Bowes also returns.