Docker Pavlich to sweat on Achilles pain

Fremantle defender Garrick Ibbotson missed the 2013 grand final because of an Achilles tendon injury, and he hopes skipper Matthew Pavlich won’t suffer the same fate this year.

Pavlich is in doubt for Sunday’s western derby against West Coast after pulling up sore in his Achilles tendon following last week’s win over St Kilda.

The 331-game veteran has battled pain around his Achilles area in recent years, and was forced to undergo surgery in 2013.

But the Dockers are hopeful his latest flare-up isn’t serious, despite sending Pavlich in for scans on Monday.

Ibbotson’s own Achilles issue was thought to be minor in 2013.

But the situation worsened to the point where Ibbotson missed the final two months of the season – including Fremantle’s loss to Hawthorn in the grand final.

“They can get better really quick, but it just depends. It’s an individual thing,” Ibbotson said.

“It didn’t work out very well for me.

“It was supposed to be week by week, and then it ended up being seven or eight, and then I missed the grand final.

“Pav’s had problems before that he’s been fine with.

“And he’s been able to play for a long time with an Achilles.”

Star midfielder Nat Fyfe appears certain to return for the derby, while defender Michael Johnson (hamstring) is also on track to feature, especially if Luke McPharlin (calf) is sidelined.

Midfielder David Mundy (ankle) must make it through Friday’s training session before being given the green light to play.

West Coast will be missing star trio Nic Naitanui (compassionate leave), Mark LeCras (suspended) and Jeremy McGovern (hamstring).

But Callum Sinclair is set to return to help Scott Lycett in their ruck battle against Dockers giants Aaron Sandilands and Jonathon Griffin.

Fremantle are likely to win the minor premiership even if they slip up to their arch rivals on Sunday.

But for West Coast, the stakes are far higher.

The Eagles sit just two points clear of the third-placed Hawks, and a loss this weekend would dash their hopes of finishing second, and also put their top-four hopes in doubt.

Ibbotson said the intense derby rivalry in Western Australia also divided his family.

“My brother was a West Coast supporter for a long time, and probably still is really,” Ibbotson joked.

“We’ve had a few disagreements and arguments along the way.

“But he’s pretty good now. He’s usually pretty supportive of me.”

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