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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Luke Ryan confident Fremantle Dockers can cover potential loss of Joel Hamling

Luke Ryan hopes fellow defender Joel Hamling will be cleared to line up against a towering North Melbourne forward line in Sunday’s clash at Optus Stadium, but is confident they have ready replacements to come up from Peel if required.
Hamling was concussed by an elbow from Sydney’s Lance Franklin in the 59-point loss at the SCG last Saturday night.
The Dockers had a light run at the club’s Cockburn headquarters yesterday, but Hamling will need to prove his fitness later in the week.
Shane Kersten has been recast as a defender at Peel after he was dropped following the round one loss to Port Adelaide, while Brennan Cox is an option to be redeployed down back after coming back into the side as a forward.
Cam Sutcliffe yesterday accepted a one-game suspension for striking Subiaco’s Kyle Halligan in Peel’s loss at Bendigo Bank Stadium at the weekend, ruling him out of contention.
“I’m sure that he’ll be fine for this week,” Ryan said of Hamling.
“We’ve got other players playing WAFL and we’ve got a few that can stand up and take Joel’s spot, but our priority is to get Joel up and ready for this week.”
Stephen Hill is a chance to return after two weeks out with a quad strain.
Fremantle’s back line will have its hands full against the Kangaroos, who boast Coleman Medal leader Ben Brown, veteran spearhead Jarrad Waite and the talented Mason Wood in attack.
Brown has kicked 31 goals this season and combined with Waite to kick nine goals in the 43-point win over Greater Western Sydney in Hobart last Saturday.
“We study all of our players we play on,” Ryan said.
“He’s (Brown) playing really well, he really kicks the ball well and he’s got a good set of hands.
“We’ll study him and hope-fully he won’t kick many goals this week.”
North Melbourne have defied the critics this year to sit seventh with a 5-4 record, a win-loss record boosted by significant wins over the Giants, Sydney and Hawthorn.
They will be looking to become the first Victorian side to win at Optus Stadium, where Fremantle have a strong 4-1 record.
“There’s no easy games in the AFL at all,” Ryan said.
“They’re all really good teams and it’s a good challenge for us and we’re looking forward to it.
“We had our opportunities against Sydney, we had a fair few entries we just didn’t convert on the scoreboard.
“That’s something we’ll look at this week and hopefully fix it again for this week against North Melbourne.”
Kangaroos ruckman Todd Goldstein will play his 200th match and renew acquaintances with Docker Aaron Sandilands.
He is only the 30th North Melbourne player to reach the 200-game mark.