Saturday, 1st September
Patersons Stadium, 7:40pm
Fremantle’s coaches will have their calculators out as part of their pre-game warm up as the Dockers will be in the unique position of knowing exactly how much they will have to win by to possibly claim a home final.
While the Demons have shown some bright glimpses in an otherwise dreary season with recent wins over Gold Coast and GWS, their 69-point loss, after leading in the second term, to Adelaide last round to farewell Brad Green is more in line with their disappointing season. The form of Colin Sylvia has been a highlight, and he will probably attract the smothering tag of Ryan Crowley for his troubles this week.
The Dockers will have the luxury of having the matches that will shape their finals destiny prior to their own match. Depending on whether Geelong beat Sydney at home and if -and by how far- North Melbourne beat GWS they will be able to know exactly how much they will need to win by to secure sixth spot.
Matthew Pavlich was a late withdrawal against North Melbourne with a corked hamstring and general soreness, yet his side still returned an impressive 53-point victory to seal their finals berth. The Dockers small forwards in Michael Walters and Hayden Ballantyne stood up in the absence of their skipper, kicking four goals apiece. If Pavlich misses another week Zac Clarke may again be pushed forward. Kepler Bradley may be in doubt after being subbed off with a head-knock at half time against the Roos.
The Dockers midfield has been firing of late, with Clancee Pearce, Stephen Hill, Nat Fyfe and David Mundy dining out on Aaron Sandilands dominance in the middle. Mark Jamar is no certainty to start for the Demons, so Jake Spencer may be in for a long afternoon. Fremantle will also be farewelling Antoni Grover, fifth in the clubs all time games totals, who announced his retirement at season’s end.
Fremantle have won the past six games against Melbourne at Subiaco by an average of 33 points and took out their round 16 clash by 34 in what was their first victory against the Dees in Victoria since 2007.
Fremantle have been second only to Sydney for points conceded this season, and lead the competition for trapping the ball in opponents forward lines.
The Demons will of course be without Green and as such, wont offer much in scoreboard resistance, and are probably looking forward to another miserable season ending; allowing the Dockers to play to the calculator as need be.
Fremantle by *insert score required come Saturday afternoon here*