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Sandityne: two beaten warriors walk away still winners

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Last Saturday night at Optus Stadium was a sad occasion for us Fremantle Dockers fans.

Any slim hope we retained of playing finals football for the first time since 2015 was snuffed out by a dominant Essendon performance against an insipid Dockers outfit. And we bid farewell to two of the club’s all-time favourites, man mountain Aaron Sandilands and the pesky mosquito Hayden Ballantyne.

Aaron Sandilands and Hayden Ballantyne are clapped off the field after their last game in front of the Fremantle Dockers faithful at Optus Stadium.Credit:Fremantle Football Club

There may be a massive difference in height between the two - 38cm to be precise - with Sandilands reaching the stratospheric height of 211cm and Ballantyne standing 173cm, but when it comes to heart and commitment, there is not a slither of separation between the two.

You know that when they wore the purple jumper, or the purple and white or the original purple, red, green and white, they gave their all, ending each game physically and mentally exhausted.

Originally from Mount Barker, the birthplace of the legendary Jimmy and Phil Krakouer, Sandilands made his debut for Fremantle in round one of the 2003 season after being picked up in the 2002 Rookie Draft from East Fremantle.

Sandilands made an immediate impact at AFL level, playing 19 games in his first season and being nominated for the AFL Rising Star.

In 2003, the Dockers - who had finished fifth at the end of the home and away season - hosted........

© The Age