Ballantyne, Hill set to bolster Freo as Eagles wait on Petrie

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Fremantle will decide this week whether dashing midfielder Stephen Hill resumes from injury in Sunday’s home clash with Carlton.
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The revitalised Dockers sit on the brink of the top eight with five wins from their last six engagements and emerged from Sunday’s show-stopping, last-kick, two-point victory over Richmond in Melbourne without further injuries.

Dangerous Dockers small forward Hayden Ballantyne is also set for a return to full training in a determined bid to play for his future and a potential contract extension before the end of the season.

And West Coast big man Drew Petrie is in for a recall ahead of schedule from broken bones in his left hand.

Petrie, 34, will be considered for a direct recall into the Eagles outfit for a road trip to confront Essendon at Etihad Stadium but could also return through alignment club East Perth.

He has missed seven weeks from surgery to implant plates and screws into his hand after snapping bones in his West Coast debut against old outfit North Melbourne in round one.

Petrie declared himself set for a return after resuming training last week.

He had been on the brink of playing in Friday night’s blockbuster with reigning premiers Western Bulldogs.

Petrie could resume at East Perth to regain important ball-handling touch after impressive outings from stand-in ruck pair Nathan Vardy and Fraser McInnes in the Eagles gutsy eight-point win over the Dogs.

“It’s always hard to press for a spot after missing seven games and also after a win,” Petrie told Fox Footy.

“I’ll be more than happy to pull on an East Perth jumper.”

Petrie seems more logically headed back to action at WAFL level and possibly resume as West Coast need important taller back-up for a shootout with glamour outfit Greater Western Sydney in Perth on Sunday-week.

Hill, 27, will have been out of action for 29 days recovering from a hamstring strain when the Dockers host the Blues on Sunday.

He broke down early into the last term of Fremantle’s stirring come-from-behind win over North Melbourne in Perth late last month.

Hill’s return will add substantial firepower to an in-form and imposing midfield with his brother Brad, star play-maker Nathan Fyfe, Lachie Neale, David Mundy and Michael Walters all in startling recent form.

A decision from Dockers coach Ross Lyon and his medical staff will be whether to recall the dynamic line-breaker or hold Hill back for a big occasion outing against premiership fancies Adelaide a week later on the road.

Ballantyne, 29, seems more likely to return through Dockers partner unit Peel Thunder later this month.

A complication to Ballantyne’s return hopes is a WAFL general bye in a fortnight when Western plays Victoria in Melbourne.

Ballantyne snapped his hamstring tendon in the final pre-season match two months ago and had initially been expected to miss up to 12 weeks.

The 2014 All-n pocket dynamo seems highly unlikely to get a succession of WAFL games to press for a recall to the Dockers starting forward line ahead of Fremantle’s round 13 bye, which would more logically complete his full three month recovery to resume at the highest level.

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