Both teams currently sit outside the eight, but with both teams around the mark the twilight contest at Patersons Stadium becomes interesting.
Fremantle are outside the eight on percentage only, while Richmond’s is superior yet are two games behind in a game that has serious repercussions for either team’s aspirations should they lose.
That alone is a reason to watch, but a potentially better one is that it’s very likely that it will be close, off this year’s form.
Fremantle are very much in contention for a position in the top eight, currently sitting ninth, and will need to continue winning to ensure that they can slot in.
And with their ins this week – being Luke McPharlin and Nathan Fyfe – they have a much bolstered side.
They’ll come in with good form behind them, having won five in a row prior to their loss to Adelaide last weekend, and it is mostly inspired by the form of Matthew Pavlich, who has kicked 46 goals in his last ten games.
With a strong midfield, with Michael Barlow, David Mundy and Clancee Pearce standing out, a performing defense – the Dockers have conceded the second-least points this year – and a dangerous forward line, Fremantle have all the tools to win this one.
The Tigers will travel to Perth with the intent of reversing their fortunes, having lost to Fremantle in Round 11 by twelve points, and with every loss bar one being 21 points or less so far this season, they will not want another.
That competitiveness, in fact, sees them with a percentage greater than that of Fremantle, and with scoring potential as well comes a few advantages over them.
Jack Riewoldt gets scrutinised for his demonstrative ways, but with 54 goals for the season and five last week, if he can topple the tight defence of Fremantle, it will go a long way to ensuring a victory.
He’ll have healthy delivery as always from the standard midfield of Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio, Dustin Martin and Shane Tuck.
As long as Richmond’s defence, held by Alex Rance, can nullify Fremantle’s scoring power, thus creating their own, then they have a great chance.
Players to Watch
Matthew Pavlich: He was kept relatively quiet by young gun Daniel Talia last week, but “Pav” has arguably a more difficult task in Alex Rance this week. If he can come out victorious in that battle, then Fremantle will be difficult to stop.
Jack Riewoldt: It’s almost the same scenario as Pavlich versus Rance – Riewoldt vs McPharlin will be enthralling. Riewoldt can burst out of the blocks, yet be kept quiet; whichever path he follows might just determine the outcome of the match itself.
On paper, I think both teams are very much even, but with the home ground advantage and finals more so on the line, I’ll back Fremantle.
Fremantle by 15
B: Adam McPhee, Luke McPharlin, Zac Dawson
HB: Clancee Pearce, Michael Johnson, David Mundy
C: Michael Barlow, Ryan Crowley, Tendai Mzungu
HF: Michael Walters, Kepler Bradley, Stephen Hill
F: Hayden Ballantyne, Matthew Pavlich, Christopher Mayne
Foll: Jonathon Griffin, Nathan Fyfe, Matthew de Boer
I/C: Paul Duffield, Garrick Ibbotson, Lee Spurr, Nicholas Suban
Emg: Aaron Sandilands, Dylan Roberton, Thomas Sheridan
In: Luke McPharlin, Nathan Fyfe
Out: Dylan Roberton, Lachie Neale (quad)
B: Steven Morris, Alex Rance, Jayden Post
HB: Brandon Ellis, Chris Newman, Bachar Houli
C: Shaun Grigg, Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio
HF: Jake King, Shane Edwards, Daniel Jackson
F: Luke McGuane, Jack Riewoldt, Robin Nahas
Foll: Ivan Maric, Dustin Martin, Shane Tuck
I/C: Matthew White, Ben Griffiths, Bradley Helbig, Brett O’Hanlon
Emg: Matt Dea, Jake Batchelor, Tom Derickx
In: Brett O’Hanlon
Out: Reece Conca (toe)