Where: Patersons Stadium, Subiaco, WA
When: Sunday March 4th, 5:10pm (local time); 8:10pm AEDST
Coverage: TV, Fox Footy live – Radio, SEN 1116 live.
Fine and Sunny.
The final game for the weekend sees Richmond travelling to Perth to take on Fremantle. Both sides will be going in with relatively strong outfits for a NAB Cup game, with only a handful of high profile players sitting out.
Ross Lyon has given the all clear for the best ruckmen in the land, Aaron Sandilands to play, and he’ll be accompanied by the Dockers’ second and third ruck options Jonathon Griffin and Zac Clarke. No doubt both second stringers will be keen to earn their way into a round one selection.
Richmond will be missing Nathan Foley, Brett Deledio and Trent Cotchin from their midfield, yet Jack Riewoldt and Dustin Martin will be amongst the big name Tigers to make the trip west.
What the Dockers want to see:
From the moment Ross Lyon took the reins late last year, there has been much discussion as to whether or not he will implement the same grinding, slow, defensive style that we saw during his time as St. Kilda coach. One thing we can be sure of is that Lyon is a coach who understands the importance of a solid defence that knows how to play well together.
Big defenders Zac Dawson, Luke McPharlin, Michael Johnson and Alex Silvagni have all been selected, as have smaller defensive options Nick Suban and Greg Broughton.
Undoubtedly Lyon will rate finding the best defensive combination at the very top of his pre-season priorities, so we may find an insight into his thinking as this game unfolds.
Jack Anthony is another player whose form may prove important for the Dockers in 2012. Already having proven he is capable of delivering 50-plus goals in a finals side with Collingwood, his 2011 was not all that Fremantle fans had hoped in his first year as a Docker.
If Anthony can find a niche in the forward line alongside Matthew Pavlich, Fremantle fans will no doubt embrace him.
What the Tigers want to see:
Two weeks ago Richmond showed signs of becoming a much more organised unit than the one we saw in 2011.
Against the Hawks and the Kangaroos they managed to consistently deny their opposition time and space in the corridor between the arcs, which was essentially the opposite of what they offered up most weeks last season.
This will be the key for Damien Hardwick this year, and on the open spaces of Subiaco Oval he’ll be hoping to see the same discipline to the game plan on Sunday.
New additions Steven Morris and Brandon Ellis have already shown signs that they’re in the mix to find a permanent role in the Richmond defence this year, although with the likes of Chris Newman and others in the mix they will certainly need to show more form to be considered for round one.
Winning in Perth in 35 degree heat is a very rare thing for travelling sides, be it pre-season or the real deal.
Whilst both sides hold aspirations to force their way into the finals this year, expect Fremantle to handle the conditions better than Richmond and finish stronger than their younger counterparts.
Fremantle by 20 points.
Hayden Ballantyne, Zac Dawson, Jayden Pitt, Greg Broughton, Nathan Fyfe, Nick Suban, Adam McPhee, Tom Sheridan, Jon Griffin, Tendai Mzungu, Ryan Crowley, Luke McPharlin, Jack Anthony, Chris Mayne, Josh Mellington, Kepler Bradley, Matthew Pavlich, Lachie Neale, Zachary Clarke, Aaron Sandilands, Stephen Hill, Lee Spurr, Haiden Schloithe, Alex Silvagni, Michael Johnson, Matt de Boer, Paul Duffield, Clancee Pearce, Jay van Berlo
Dustin Martin, Matt Dea, Jack Riewoldt, Shane Edwards, Jake Batchelor, Brad Miller, Bachar Houli, Luke McGuane, Chris Newman, Alex Rance, Ivan Maric, Shane Tuck, Robin Nahas, Jake King, Ty Vickery, Brad Helbig, Matt White, Jayden Post, Steven Morris, Tom Derickx, Nathan Foley, Brandon Ellis, Todd Elton, Matt Arnot, Brett O’Hanlon, Jeromey Webberley, Addam Maric, Steven Verrier, Piva Wright