Fremantle v Carlton

Picture: Getty Images/
Skipper Matthew Pavlich is a key man for Fremantle. Picture: Getty Images/
Both Fremantle  and Carlton  go into this match having won three of their opening four matches, but it is the visitors that will run onto Patersons Stadium under the most pressure. Last weekend’s disappointing defeat at the hands of Essendon left some questioning whether or not the Blues could handle the weight of expectation this season, while the Dockers tough win over St Kilda was just their fourth in their past 29 trips to Victoria.

Ross Lyon insists that young star Nat Fyfe will take his place in the Dockers’ team despite being a late withdrawal last week with a shoulder injury, but influential ruckman Aaron Sandilands is doubtful with a calf injury. For the Blues, livewire forward Andrew Walker will play his first AFL fixture of the season after recovering from a quadriceps tendon injury.

Where It Will be Won – Carlton’s young ruck duo of Matthew Kreuzer and Shaun Hampson have been lauded for their early season form but they are likely to face their toughest test to date if Aaron Sandilands is passed fit for the Dockers. Ably assisted by Zac Clarke, Fremantle has enjoyed a clear dominance over their opponents in the ruck and should be able to give their midfield, led by Fyfe, a distinct headstart against the likes of Chris Judd  and Marc Murphy .

Prediction – Fremantle have always been hard to beat at home, but last week’s Melbourne win over St Kilda suggests that they could be the real deal this season under new coach Ross Lyon. If Sandilands were to be ruled out, it would be a huge blow, but they should be too good. Fremantle 1-39

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