When: Friday April 12, 8:40PM
Where: Pattersons Stadium
Forecast: Cloudy, 27 degrees
Sportsbet: Fremantle $1.45, Essendon $2.80
Vote for Freo on Facebook ->
FB: Lee Spurr, Zac Dawson, Michael Johnson
HB: Nick Suban, Luke McPharlin, Danyle Pearce
C: Tendai Mzungu, Ryan Crowley, Clancee Pearce
HF: Hayden Ballantyne, Matthew Pavlich, Nathan Fyfe
FF: Kepler Bradley, Chris Mayne, Michael Walters
R: Jonathon Griffin, David Mundy, Stephen Hill
I/C: Cameron Sutcliffe, Paul Duffield, Michael Barlow, Matt de Boer
EMG: Hayden Crozier, Tom Sheridan, Jack Hannath
IN: Hayden Ballantyne
OUT: Hayden Crozier (omit.)
Vote for Essendon on Facebook ->
FB: Michael Hibberd, Cale Hooker, Dustin Fletcher
HB: David Myers, Jake Carlisle, Courtenay Dempsey
C: Dyson Heppell, Jobe Watson, Brendon Goddard
HF: Brent Stanton, Stewart Crameri, Travis Colyer
FF: Alwyn Davey, Patrick Ryder, Michael Hurley
R: Tom Bellchambers, Ben Howlett, Heath Hocking
I/C: Nick Kommer, David Zaharakis, Jake Melksham, Elliott Kavanagh
EMG: Jackson Merrett, David Hille, Leroy Jetta
IN: Elliott Kavanagh, Travis Colyer
OUT: Mark Baguley (ankle), Jackson Merrett (omit.)
Both sides enter this high-stakes encounter without a loss to their name after two rounds of football. Essendon sit on top of the ladder after a percentage-boosting 148 point victory over Melbourne last Saturday night, to go with their six goal win over the Crows at AAMI Stadium in Round 1. Fremantle are in fourth spot after victories over West Coast and the Western Bulldogs. The winner of tonight’s clash will sit on top of the ladder going into the remainder of Round 3.
Survival of the stingiest
Defensive. It’s a word that is becoming more and more prevalent in AFL football. A word that is seen next to Ross Lyon in the football dictionary, a word that usually relates to victory if done correctly. Now, ‘defensive’ and Essendon surprisingly go hand-in-hand so far in 2013. Essendon are not only on top of the ladder because of their mammoth score they kicked last week, but also because they are restricting their opposition in the backline. Melbourne scored a paltry 5.6.36 last weekend, which pleased coach James Hird to no end. A week earlier, the Adelaide forward line was restricted to 11.16.82. It is clear that the Bombers have done their homework over the pre-season, and it was obvious in the NAB Cup too, with sides having difficulty scoring against Essendon throughout the pre-season competition.
Lyon has been affiliated with three AFL teams in the past 10 seasons. Sydney, St Kilda and now Fremantle. It is no coincidence that each of these three sides are heralded as supremely defensive teams of their era. The Dockers are masters of choking the opposition, and with quality defenders in Luke McPharlin, Michael Johnson and even Zac Dawson, I very much doubt we will see Essendon score half as freely as they were allowed to last weekend. Whoever can restrict the opposition more tonight could end up singing the song, and it could get ugly.
Both Fremantle and Essendon run deep with their midfields. The Dockers boast quality players such as Brownlow Medal fancy Nathan Fyfe, clearance king David Mundy, ball-magnet Michael Barlow and explosive players like Clancee Pearce, Stephen Hill and Nick Suban, among others.
The Bombers have, in the space of one pre-season, gone from being horribly injury-riddled to having almost the best centreline depth in the league. Expect Jobe Watson to go head-to-head with Mundy, while Brendon Goddard could find himself on one of Ryan Crowley or Tendai Mzungu. But even if the likes of Goddard or Brent Stanton are nullified, they have other options. Nick Kommer has started his first season in the AFL well, while highly-rated youngsters Elliott Kavanagh, Jake Melksham and Travis Colyer will all be on show at Subiaco.
Despite losing his DPP status, Matthew Pavlich was still a great selection for a fantasy forward line in 2013. From his first two games, he has averaged 78 points, not what you would want from someone priced at $593,900. If you have Pavlich, then you may consider trading him out while his value is still high, as his price is sure to drop come the end of Round 3.
His 2012 season was a write-off, but David Zaharakis is starting to hit his best form again. At $472,900, he was a name that many fantasy coaches would’ve considered. His average so far in 2013 is 65.5, which includes his Round 1 score of 28 when he started as the substitute. In the rout against Melbourne, he put up a total of 103 points, and needs to score 146 points or more tonight to avoid dropping in price. If he doesn’t, which is likely, he could be one to jump on next week, but watch his form tonight if you’re considering him.
Since 2000, Fremantle and Essendon have played 19 times. From left to right, this is the result of each match since the start of the millenium.
E – E – E – FR – E – FR – E – E – E – E – FR – E – FR – E – E – FR – FR – FR – E
Fremantle home game (Patersons Stadium)
Essendon home game (Etihad Stadium)
This should be a quality match with finals-like intensity. Essendon have won two of the past five matches against the Dockers at Subiaco Oval, but I can’t see them getting over the top of FREMANTLE this time.
First goalkicker: Michael Walters.