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Dockers hamstrung without Fyfe, Lions defenders get claws out for Tigers

Fremantle have suffered a huge blow with captain Nat Fyfe ruled out of the AFL elimination final against the Western Bulldogs because of a hamstring injury.

Fyfe sustained the injury to his right leg in training, with scans on Monday confirming a hamstring strain.

It is the opposite leg to the hamstring injury that sidelined Fyfe for three games before his return for the win over GWS in round 23.

Fremantle haven’t yet put a timeline on Fyfe’s recovery, but the dual Brownlow medallist has been ruled out of Saturday night’s knockout clash with the Bulldogs at Optus Stadium.

“These hamstring strain injuries are very much a case-by-case basis for each individual,” Dockers football manager Peter Bell said in a statement.

“We won’t have a timeline just yet on Nathan’s return, but we are hopeful that we will see him feature at some point in the upcoming finals series.”

Fyfe has played just seven games this season after overcoming multiple shoulder surgeries, a knee injury and an operation on his back over the past year.

The Dockers are hopeful ruck-forward Rory Lobb (shoulder) and swingman Griffin Logue (adductor) will be passed fit to return against the Bulldogs.

Key forward Matt Taberner (calf) is also in a race to prove his fitness.

Nat Fyfe of the Dockers

Nat Fyfe. (Photo by Will Russell/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Lions defenders bare teeth for Tigers tussle

What Charlie Cameron does when Richmond have the ball might be just as crucial as what the Brisbane small forward does with it in their AFL elimination final.

The Lions remain one of the competition’s best attacking sides but will meet their offensive match on Thursday at the Gabba.

So, missing key defensive personnel and battling to restrict opponents after limping into the finals in sixth, they are determined to avoid a shoot-out with the multi-pronged Tigers.

Tall defender Marcus Adams (concussion), hard-edged teammate Noah Answerth and game-breaking midfielder Cam Rayner (suspended) won’t play.

It leaves the hosts vulnerable to a Tigers attack led by Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt and supported by Shai Bolton, Noah Cumberland, Maurice Rioli Jnr and the returning Dustin Martin.

While ranked second in points scored, Brisbane are 10th in points conceded, have gone 7-6 on the run into the finals and 1-5 in the last three post-seasons.

Coach Chris Fagan could call on 18-year-old Darcy Wilmot to debut in Answerth’s place, with the inexperienced Jack Payne and Harris Andrews left to contend with the Tigers’ talls.

“You see it in the media, can’t help that but you just control what you can,” Cameron said of the critics lining up to write his side off.

“For us this week has been about actions; there is always pressure there, it’s just about how you handle it and I’m looking forward to it.

“These are the moments you play footy for, finals and big moments.”

Cameron will be called on to do the damage up front but he said the forward line’s efforts once Richmond earn possession could shape the contest.

“It starts in our forward 50, blocking it in,” he said. “We want to set the tone there with our pressure. That’ll be huge and if we can bring that for four quarters it takes some pressure off our defence.

“It could be a shoot-out but we don’t want it to be; we need to apply the pressure, win the contested ball, lock it in and set the tone.”

Some solace for Brisbane is that their only finals win under coach Chris Fagan came against Richmond in 2020.

The flip side is that the Tigers recovered to win the flag that year while Brisbane were rolled in the preliminary final.

Joe Daniher was recruited from Essendon two seasons ago to add an edge to a team already in contention.

“I’m like every other football that thrives to play in the big games and works hard to get the opportunity to contribute,” he said.

“I don’t have the time right now to be looking back and reflecting too much (on Brisbane’s previous finals performances), otherwise this chance will slip away.”

Daniher admitted off-season shoulder surgery was an option but that the injury that ruled him out for five weeks earlier this season had not been inhibiting.

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