FREMANTLE stars Rory Lobb and Michael Walters appear certain to miss the start of the AFL season after going down with injury during a Western Derby of carnage.
Lobb’s right knee and ankle both twisted at awkward angles when he was tackled by Tom Cole in the first quarter of the 10-point pre-season loss to West Coast on Sunday in front of 20,166 fans at Optus Stadium.
The Dockers big man immediately grabbed at his knee while he writhed in pain, and he could barely put weight on his right leg when he was eventually helped off the ground.
Lobb was later spotted wearing a knee brace and using crutches.
Even if he has avoided an anterior cruciate ligament tear, any medial ligament damage could rule him out anywhere between four to 12 weeks.
Lobb’s injury comes at an unfortunate time for the Dockers, with No.1 ruckman Sean Darcy no certainty to play in round one due to a knee injury.
Walters tore his right hamstring late in the third quarter of the 9.13 (67) to 8.9 (57) defeat when he attempted to sprint away from a stoppage.
The loss of Walters and Lobb for the start of the season is a huge blow to Fremantle, who are aiming to end their five-year finals drought.
West Coast didn’t come away unscathed either.
Zac Langdon was stretchered off in the third quarter after a sickening clash of heads with Nat Fyfe that knocked the Eagles recruit out cold.
Fyfe was able to get up almost straight away, but a clearly groggy Landgon couldn’t even support the weight of his head when he tried to sit up.
Eagles skipper Luke Shuey injured his ankle in the third quarter, while defender Brad Sheppard received a knock to the head from Darcy Tucker.
Shuey didn’t return, but it was more a management decision rather than concern over the injury.
Sheppard returned, before copping a knee to the head from Bailey Banfield in the final quarter.
Banfield injured his right ankle in the incident, while Sheppard was left with blood streaming from his head.
Dockers forward Lachie Schultz injured his ankle late in the match but he managed to play on.
Eagles defender Jeremy McGovern faces a nervous wait for an earlier high bump on Schultz.
Eagles forward Liam Ryan booted three goals and set up numerous other attacks in a dazzling display, while Andrew Gaff racked up 31 disposals in the midfield.
Ruckman Nic Naitanui tallied 22 hitouts and five disposals in two-and-a-half quarters.
Fyfe overcame an early leg concern to finish with 27 disposals, 10 clearances and a goal in a star performance, while ruckman Lloyd Meek battled hard to tally 18 hitouts and six clearances.
(C) AAP 2021
WEST COAST 3.3 6.6 7.11 9.13 (67)
FREMANTLE 3.3 5.4 5.5 8.9 (57)
Goals: West Coast: L Ryan 3 J Darling 2 O Allen 2 J Jones J Petruccelle. Fremantle: L Schultz 2 M Frederick 2 B Banfield J Aish M Crowden N Fyfe.
Umpires: Jeff Dalgleish, Alex Whetton, Dan Johanson.
Official Crowd: 20,166 at Optus Stadium.