Fremantle are one of the form sides of the competition; coming off a ten goal walloping of the Eagles in the Derby and meet an Adelaide side who just held on their second spot with a tense, narrow win over the Bombers.
The Dockers, lead by a Coleman Medal-leading resurgence from Matthew Pavlich up forward, laid waste to the Giants, eased off after a crushing first half against the Power and obliterated their Western Australian rivals by 65 points in the past three weeks.
Fremantle’s midfield have finally got some continuity after injury interrupted seasons and David Mundy, Nat Fyfe and Michael Barlow are all finding form and the ball in a big way. Luke McPharlin is out due to suspension.
Adelaide also enjoyed a big win over West Coast in round seventeen, but since lost to an injury depleted Cats – who were two down on the bench with Johnson in the first minute and Corey sustaining injuries – and just lasted to beat the Bombers by four.
The Crows are likely to welcome back Kurt Tippet – subject to medical approval – and Jason Porplyzia, who was subbed off against the bombers, to their forward line, with winger David Mackay also expected to be fit. Patrick Dangerfield and Taylor Walker have been racking up the stats and getting amongst the goals of late, while Scott Thompson has been providing some hardness in the middle.
The two teams have met 28 times for 17 wins to the Crows, with twelve of those wins coming at Footy Park. Adelaide enjoyed a 29 point win over Fremantle in round ten, kicking the last five goals of the game thanks to a 33 disposal, three goal game to Rory Sloane – who may find himself tagged by Ryan Crowley this time. Fremantle won the previous clash between the sides here by 25 in a hard-fought affair.
The Crows staunch defender Ben Rutten should have the hard task of quelling Pavlich in a contest that will be vital in what proves to be a tight tussle. Sam Jacobs is leading the comp in hit outs to advantage and will give the Crows on-ballers first crack in the crucial ball out of the middle and stemming the service to an in-form Pavlich.
The Crows have won three games this season by less than ten points, yet Fremantle come into the game boasting the second best defence in the competition, which may be a factor with two Crows forwards coming in under an injury cloud.
Prediction: Crows by 7.