Peel Thunder return likely for favourite son Hayden Ballantyne

Peel Thunder golden child Hayden Ballantyne could make his return to football in a teal jumper, according to Fremantle head coach Ross Lyon.

The injured Docker has been on the road to recovery since damaging his hamstring in the final round of the JLT Community Series against Carlton and appears likely to be available for Fremantle’s round nine clash with the Blues this Sunday.

But Lyon hinted the fiery forward could return through the WAFL club he won a Sandover medal with instead of being thrown into the fray of an AFL battle first up.

“We’ll consider (sending Ballantyne to Peel), we’ve got to get through the week and anything could happen in the next two sessions,” Lyon said.

Smooth-moving Fremantle midfielder Stephen Hill is also set to return to the Dockers this week, but is highly unlikely to spend any time at Peel Thunder.

“Logic would dictate that Stephen’s a bit more advanced on the whole year than Hayden is,” Lyon said.

“But neither of them are certainties to come back and play.”

Ballantyne injured his hamstring against Carlton in the final round of the JLT Community Series. Photo: Getty Images.

Ballantyne injured his hamstring against Carlton in the final round of the JLT Community Series. Photo: Getty Images.

Ballantyne would receive a warm welcome if he is to return through Peel Thunder.

The 29-year-old won back-to-back colts grand finals with the Thunder in 2004 and 2005, and was the league side’s leading goal kicker and best and fairest winner in 2008.

The far wing at Peel Thunder’s home ground is named the Hayden Ballantyne wing.

In previous years, it’s likely Ballantyne is a walk-up starter in the Dockers’ line-up.

But Fremantle may struggle to make room for the veteran small forward as they lean on youth to help them through what Lyon has anticipated to be a four-year rebuild.

The Dockers have also been in winning form in recent weeks, taking the chocolates in five of their past six matches.

Lyon would be wary to tamper with his in-form squad, which could prove to be a factor in Ballantyne spending time in the WAFL.

Peel Thunder take on the Perth Demons at Lathlain Park this Saturday.

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