World News Caitlin Bassett: Fremantle Dockers must be patient with the return of captain Alex Pearce from broken arm Blog

Justin Longmuir told us this week that Alex Pearce can’t wait to play against Hawthorn in his home state.

But the club took the right approach by leaving him out of the team for Saturday’s clash with the Hawks.

It’s about weighing up risk and return.

The reward: your captain and potential All-Australian defender for a game that could determine your chances of making the top four – plus a rare game in his home state.

The risk: an even more serious injury to his already broken arm – or further health complications.

Pictured is Alex Pearce training with the Fremantle Dockers at Victor George Kailis Oval in Cockburn Perth.
Camera iconAlex Pearce is about to return to football. Credit: Riley Churchman/The West Australian

Fremantle is now stocked with a strong defender base with Brennan Cox and Heath Chapman fit to play again.

Last weekend, Cox played his first AFL game since suffering a hamstring injury in round one and finished with seven interceptions, while Chapman himself intercepted eight and kicked a goal.

Luke Ryan is in All-Australian form, leading the competition for records and has averaged 523 metres this season.

Young defender Josh Draper is also back in action. He has held the fort all season – most notably against Sydney two weeks ago – and is right to do so again.

They are already one of the best defensive units in the league this season and, despite a nightmarish overall record on the Apple Isle, can take comfort from their most recent result there – a 10-goal win.

They can wait another week for Pearce’s return.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 23: Alex Pearce of the Dockers looks on after winning the round 15 AFL match between Fremantle Dockers and Gold Coast Suns at Optus Stadium on June 23, 2024 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Camera iconAlex Pearce broke his left arm three weeks ago. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

While playing, the captain not only runs the risk of causing further damage to his arm, but also the risk of contracting an infection.

There’s also the added element of playing when you know you’re in pain. Even when he takes the field with a huge lineup, it’s natural for him to be a little hesitant about throwing himself into each and every contest – that’s his game.

Pearce has been with the Dockers for over 10 years, making 121 appearances for the club but only appearing in two finals.

This year, Fremantle not only has the opportunity to play in the final, but also to really step on the gas.

He is at the peak of his career and the Dockers are also entering their prime. Bigger things await him this season and patience will be important.

Next week it’s Melbourne at home and then the Western Derby the week after when things really get going. Pearce has flown to Launceston with the team and has the chance to spend some time with family and relax before things get serious. There will be no rest in September.

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