Dockers book in two stars for surgery

Fremantle midfielder Michael Barlow has been ruled out for the rest of the AFL season with a shoulder injury, but Hayden Ballantyne is expected to return despite fracturing his cheekbone.

Barlow, who had only just returned from a fractured finger, has been booked in for surgery after damaging the AC joint in his left shoulder during last Friday’s loss to Geelong.

The 28-year-old’s career hung in the balance earlier this year when he was dropped to the WAFL following a lean start to the season.

But he has been one of Fremantle’s best players since returning in round 10, and he’s almost certain to earn a contract extension for next season.

Ballantyne will also undergo surgery after fracturing his cheekbone while laying a first-half tackle against the Cats.

The 29-year-old played out the match despite the heavy swelling, and the Dockers are confident he’ll be able to return at the tail-end of the season.

It’s the second serious facial injury sustained by Ballantyne, who broke his jaw in 2014.

“We know how determined Hayden will be to get back to playing as soon as possible, and he has a history of doing that,” Dockers football operations manager Chris Bond said.

“But at this stage we will see how his recovery phase goes and be guided by medical advice to help establish his return date.”

Fremantle will also be without veteran forward Matthew Pavlich for Saturday’s clash with Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.

Pavlich will be rested from that match, before suiting up for his 350-game milestone in next week’s home clash with Sydney.

Matt de Boer, Zac Clarke, Josh Deluca, Ethan Hughes, Clancee Pearce, Anthony Morabito, Darcy Tucker, and Shane Yarran are among the Fremantle players pushing for a recall.

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