AFL: double injury blow for Dockers as Ballantyne and Apeness ruled out for lengthy periods

FREMANTLE has been dealt a double injury blow on the eve of the 2017 season with two forwards expected to spend lengthy stints watching from the stands.

Hayden Ballantyne has undergone surgery after scans last week revealed tendon damage in his left hamstring, while teammate Michael Apeness injured his left knee playing for Peel.

Ballantyne suffered the injury during the third quarter of Fremantle’s 21-point pre-season win over Carlton.

Football operations manager Chris Bond said the small forward’s rehabilitation would take place over eight to 10 weeks.

“Once the rehabilitation process is completed and given Hayden’s strong pre-season, we expect him to make a significant contribution on his return to football,” he said.

Tall forward Apeness is expected to spend at least six weeks on the sideline after injuring his left knee playing in a practise match against West Perth.

The 22-year-old suffered a tear in his posterior cruciate ligament. Fortunately he will not require surgery but will wear a knee brace.

The Dockers get their 2017 campaign underway on Sunday when they host Geelong at Subiaco Oval.