WHERE AND WHEN: Patersons Stadium, Friday April 27, 6.45pm
LAST TIME: Fremantle 12.13 (85) lost to Carlton 16.19 (115), round 21, 2011 at Patersons Stadium
The Dockers and the Blues have given us very different insights into the type of sides they’ll be come September.
They have both threatened and shown glimpses to rise above the pack in the quest for this year’s flag.
Carlton ingloriously accepted the poisoned chalice of premiership favouritism after dispatching a pitiful and directionless Collingwood, and were then disrespectful to an Essendon outfit which ran riot all over them.
We were also quick to jump on Freo after a Round 1 upset over the reigning premiers in Perth, only to falter and get strangled by a highly mobilised and defensive Swans unit.
Last week the Dockers managed to pull off a sensational win over St Kilda and knock off a Melbourne hoodoo against Top 8 sides.
Form says anyone could win it, the seasons breakthrough win/reality check/redemption theme could comes into play, you go the Dockers.
If conditions hold up, you go the Blues. Either way, it’s going to be a thrilling contest between two sides that are searching for self-belief. If it’s found, Carlton and Fremantle could do anything with it.
WHY SHOULD YOU TUNE IN?
If it’s one thing, Chris Yarran’s glaring omission from half-back will hurt the Blues more than they think.
Carlton’s spread from stoppages in the defensive half of the ground in the first 3 rounds were sublime. Winning the clearance would see runners spread wide and allow Carlton run through the middle which would be near impossible to defend against.
This has been hampered with Yarran, Andrew Carrazzo and Jeremy Laidler who usually set up these counter attacks, by being the first target of the midfielders winning these stoppages, all missing.
Last week was a disgraceful effort from Carlton. After a horrendous display of missed tackles, lack of physical presence, no manning up whatsoever and look away handpasses in defensive 50, players needed to go away and have a good hard look at themselves. It was amateur hour last week, and this is where Carlton need to make a statement.
Carlton must win the contested ball. The lack of run due to those omissions must have Carlton winning the hard ball in what will be a contested slog in the ‘Lyon’s Cage’.
Marc Murphy, Chris Judd, Bryce Gibbs, Kade Simpson and Heath Scotland must lay tackles and look to gain territory in a game which is looking more and more like a tight, low-scoring contest.
Carlton MUST apply pressure in these areas or the Dockers could be in for an easier night than first thought.
The ‘Lyon’s Cage’ was in full effect last week against the Saints. Patterson’s Stadium maybe a bigger ground than Etihad length wise, but is smaller in width. The Dockers must push Carlton out to the boundary and play defence, as I don’t see a forward line structure being able to match Carlton’s.
Matthew Pavlich is no longer the target he once was, Keplar Bradley being named as an emergency and Jack Anthony on the bench; the Dockers will need to rely on midfield/forward types to kick goals like Hayden Ballantyne, Chris Mayne, Nat Fyfe and Stephen Hill.
Aaron Sandilands is a huge omission for the Dockers, but Jonathan Griffin is an exciting talent and should fill the void.
His battle with Matthew Kruezer will be intriguing, as first use will be a priority for both sides. He must drift forward to make a contest due to the lack of talls, and must also float back for contests when Carlton goes forward to provide pressure in the air.
Ryan Crowley and Paul Duffield may take tagging roles on the Blues’ stars, with critical roles to negate any Carlton offensive play.
In a nutshell, it’s really offence versus defence. Carlton have more losses in personnel than the Dockers, and it will take an almighty effort to break the shackles of the Defensive Dockers.
Dockers by 4.
B: Greg Broughton, Zac Dawson, Adam McPhee
HB: Michael Johnson, Luke McPharlin, Tendai Mzungu
C: Paul Duffield, Ryan Crowley, Stephen Hill
HF: Matthew de Boer, Christopher Mayne, Lachie Neale
F: Hayden Ballantyne, Matthew Pavlich, Zachary Clarke
Foll: Jonathon Griffin, David Mundy, Nathan Fyfe
I/C: Garrick Ibbotson, Clancee Pearce, Michael Barlow, Jack Anthony
Emg: Kepler Bradley, Dylan Roberton, Lee Spurr
B: Dennis Armfield, Michael Jamison, Bret Thornton
HB: Zach Tuohy, Lachlan Henderson, Nick Duigan
C: Heath Scotland, Marc Murphy, Kade Simpson
HF: Andrew Walker, Jarrad Waite, Mitch Robinson
F: Jeffrey Garlett, Shaun Hampson, Eddie Betts
Foll: Matthew Kreuzer, Chris Judd, Bryce Gibbs
I/C: Jordan Russell, Aaron Joseph, Kane Lucas, Edward Curnow
Emg: Paul Bower, David Ellard, Brock McLean
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