Grieving West Coast ruckman Nic Naitanui has been ruled out of Sunday’s western derby, while star Fremantle pair Matthew Pavlich and David Mundy are battling injury ahead of the blockbuster clash.
Naitanui is still in Fiji following the death of his mother, and the 25-year-old has been given the week off to be with his grieving family.
“He won’t be available this week,” Eagles coach Adam Simpson said.
“He’s travelling as well as he could be. The funeral arrangements are for Friday. So he’ll come back next week.
“Obviously it’s family first. It’s an emotional time and we’ll back away.”
Mystery surrounded the availability of Mundy and Pavlich after they were spotted having scans on Monday.
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon gave little away when asked about the pair’s plight at Tuesday’s press conference.
But the club later confirmed Pavlich was battling an Achilles tendon complaint, while Mundy has a sore ankle.
Both have been listed as ‘tests’ on the club’s website, but Lyon said they won’t play unless they get through the team’s second training session on Friday.
“They (the injuries) seem to be significant. If you go in for a scan, you’ve clearly got some doubt about you,” Lyon said.
“We’ll have to work through the week. Hopefully they can recover.
“Hopefully they can train by the end of the week.”
Star Dockers midfielder Nat Fyfe (groin) is a certainty to return unless he suffers a fresh setback at training, while defender Michael Johnson is also in the mix after recovering from a torn hamstring.
Veteran Luke McPharlin has been cleared of any serious damage to his corked calf, with a final call on his availability to be made later this week.
Eagles defender Jeremy McGovern has been ruled out for up to three weeks after re-injuring his left hamstring, while forward Mark LeCras (suspended) will also miss the derby.
McGovern missed two matches with his last hamstring niggle, but Simpson said the Eagles may need to take an even more conservative approach this time around.
“We thought we gave him an extra week (last time),” Simpson said.
“Obviously it hasn’t worked well for us, in terms of him re-doing it.
“We’ll review it well, and we’ll manage him – probably give him an extra week on (top of) what we thought last time.”
Tom Barrass is expected to replace McGovern, while ruckman Callum Sinclair is on track to return from a minor knee injury.
The result of Sunday’s match will have big ramifications for the second-placed Eagles, who sit just two points clear of Hawthorn in the race for a top-two berth.
Fremantle are 10 points clear on top of the table and almost certain to win the minor premiership.