Thursday, 25 May 2023
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Dockers make pitch to GWS star as big man stocks dwindle

Sandilands, 35, had not been expected to be available to return after a three-week absence but is tipped to make a late bid for selection if Darcy fails any fitness tests this week.

With West Coast restricted free agent Jeremy McGovern still firmly in Dockers recruiting sights, it has emerged that Lobb has been targeted as a saviour to Fremantle’s need for a forward target in the club’s long-term plans for a return to sustained finals.

Lobb still has a Giants contract for next year and is tipped to be in high demand, with an anticipated 12-month absence from power forward Jon Patton as he recovers from his latest full knee reconstruction.

Lobb, 25, has already considered approaches and prospects of offers from Dockers authorities.

He is understood to have also made real estate investment in picturesque East Fremantle, fuelling possibility he could opt for a move back to WA and continue his blossoming AFL career.

GWS forward Rory Lobb has been targeted by Fremantle recruiters.

GWS forward Rory Lobb has been targeted by Fremantle recruiters.

Photo: AAP

Fremantle’s recruiting strategy with priority for expatriates has already successfully enticed Joel Hamling, Cam McCarthy and Shane Kersten back home two years ago, then Nathan Wilson and Brandon Matera at the end of last season.

A six-day break from Sunday’s engagement with Port as well as travelling to Melbourne on Thursday is complicating Darcy’s fitness battle.

He is tipped to be on restricted training duties and full recovery requirements through the week in his fitness battle.

Michael Apeness suffered an injury setback with WAFL alignment club Peel.

Michael Apeness suffered an injury setback with WAFL alignment club Peel.


Fremantle’s big man stocks are already running thin, with other potential ruck back-up Michael Apeness and key forward Matt Taberner out of action with long term injuries.

Apeness, 22, battled back from a succession of horrid injury woes to play two senior games in the Dockers big man division before he was dropped for the Port clash and ripped his hamstring tendon in the opening minutes of an outing with Dockers alignment outfit Peel Thunder.

He requires season-ending surgery, while Taberner is into late stages of a long recovery from a severe foot injury and is now highly unlikely to make a comeback this season.

If Darcy fails his fitness bid, Dockers management could need to offer a senior debut to ruckman-forward Luke Strnadica.

The 200cm second-season rookie-lister has found impressive recent form with Peel and emerged as a potential call-up in the Dockers mounting loss of big man options.

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