Season over for top Docker as forward woes return to haunt Freo


Dockers football operations boss Peter Bell said Taberner initially complained of foot soreness after the Essendon game on Saturday night and had an MRI on Tuesday but follow-up CT scans confirmed the worst.

“Matthew will miss the rest of the season and be moved from the club’s primary list to the inactive list,” Bell said.

“It’s disappointing for Matthew and the club, but we know from how he has coped with a long-term injury previously that he will work diligently and professionally on his rehabilitation.”

Lyon said he would consider replacing Taberner on his list if the injury ended his season.

“I feel disappointment and a real empathy for Matt. One of the hardest things being an AFL player is that resilience of your body, and he’s one of our great preparers and he’s a really good story of hard work, improvement and growth,” Lyon said.

“It’s part of the journey. We’re going to have to find a solution. Two years in a row now. It’s the same foot. There’s some mechanics issues there. We’re going to have to find an improved method for him.”

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Taberner’s injury presents a selection headache up forward for the Dockers only weeks after the club appeared to have too many options in attack.

Fremantle would have likely replaced Taberner with off-season trade recruit Rory Lobb and recalled Sean Darcy to the ruck, but the big man has also been cursed by injury and will miss up to six weeks with an ankle injury.

It opens the door for Cameron McCarthy to return to the Dockers 22 for Sunday’s clash with Lachie Neale’s Lions at Optus Stadium.

McCarthy began the season against the Kangaroos on fire with a five-goal haul but the ex-GWS forward was dumped after the round seven loss to Adelaide and has oddly not been recalled.

The only good news for Fremantle this week was forward Harley Bennell’s impending return to competitive football via alignment club Peel Thunder in the WAFL on Saturday.

The injury-prone recruit has managed just two games and is in his fourth season with the Dockers after being recruited from Gold Coast at the end of 2015.

Injury-prone Docker Harley Bennell will return to competitive football this weekend via the WAFL.

Lyon said Bennell’s return was exciting but both player and coach were holding their breath.

“It’s significant because he’s a wonderful talent who’s had a lot of adversity,” Lyon said.

“He’s persisted and persevered, and at this stage he looks to be overcoming it.

“You can see a bounce in his step. He looks a million bucks. He’s lean, he’s fit, he’s really coming along.

“But we’re all cautious based on previous outcomes.”

– with AAP

David writes about sports and lifestyle for WAtoday.

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