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Fremantle Dockers ruckman Sean Darcy in the clear over Aaron Naughton injury

The Dockers have breathed a sigh of relief after Sean Darcy was deemed to have no case to answer following the shepherd that resulted in Western Bulldogs forward Aaron Naughton heading to hospital.

Naughton is due to undergo surgery on his fractured cheekbone following the second-quarter clash from yesterday’s game, when he clashed heads with Darcy as the Fremantle ruckman laid a bump.

But Match Review Officer Michael Christian this afternoon cleared Darcy of any wrongdoing, labelling the contact accidental.

“It was the view of the MRO that the clash of heads was accidental and Darcy’s actions were not unreasonable in the circumstances,” the league’s statement read.

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Naughton’s injury leaves the Bulldogs sweating on their forward set-up ahead of their finals opener.

Remodelled forward Mitch Wallis is nursing a shoulder injury from Sunday’s crucial win over Fremantle but is expected to be cleared to play.

The moment of impact.
Camera IconThe moment of impact.

Meanwhile, Naughton’s possible replacement Josh Schache is battling achilles soreness.

Fellow tall forward Josh Bruce and defender Easton Wood are also in some doubt, with their respective partners both pregnant and due to give birth soon.

Wallis (24), Naughton (14) and Bruce (13) lead the Dogs’ goal kicking this year.

“It’s disappointing but we’re always optimistic about what happens,” teammate Josh Dunkley said on Monday.

“I think his scan results have been pretty good and it’s positive thoughts at the moment, but we’ll wait and see how he goes.

“He was very sore and said he’s never had an injury quite like it and he’s had a lot of injuries.

“Every injury takes its toll, he’s a good healer though.”

Schache has battled injury issues and has not played at AFL level since round five, but has impressed in some scratch matches.

He was held out of Monday’s reserves practice match against Geelong on the Gold Coast.

The Bulldogs expect Wallis to be cleared for their elimination final.

“It’s not nice to get it (hurt) in the last game of the year before a finals campaign,” Dunkley said.

“We’ll just have to wait and see how he goes but we’re really optimistic.”

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