Last Start Losers Face Off In Perth

Image courtesy of adelaidenow.com.au
Nathan Fyfe has been in good form this season. Image courtesy of adelaidenow.com.au
Last Five Meetings

Round 21, 2012 – Fremantle Dockers 94 d Richmond Tigers 72
Round 11, 2012 – Fremantle Dockers 78 d Richmond Tigers 66
Round 7, 2011 – Richmond Tigers 148 d Fremantle Dockers 99
Round 15, 2010 – Richmond Tigers 100 d Fremantle Dockers 81
Round 5, 2010 – Fremantle Dockers 112 d Richmond Tigers 73


Form

     Rd 1       Rd 2       Rd 3       Rd 4   
Fremantle   W  W  L  L
Richmond   W  W  W  L

After starting the season with three wins for the first time since 1995, Richmond came back to earth with a thud on Saturday after being blown away in the third quarter by Collingwood. Maybe it was the loss this young group needed to have before the excitement level at Punt Rd reached fever pitch. After leading at half-time, the Tigers did little to stop the Magpies’ midfield running rampant and if it wasn’t for a strong showing in the final term, the margin would have blown out to far greater than the 34 points it ended up.

It was no shock to see Fremantle go down to Launceston and get dusted up, yet again, by the Hawks in Tassie. They lacked height and experience with Matthew Pavlich, Aaron Sandilands and Luke McPharlin all missing. The first two are medium-term injury concerns, while McPharlin returns this week to solidify Freo’s backline. For the third game in a row, Nathan Fyfe was the Dockers’ leading ball-winner and most effective midfielder. As much as they have improved on the road, Freo is a far different proposition at home, and


Key Men

(Dockers) Michael Walters – Without Matthew Pavlich, it will be left to Freo’s mosquito fleet of small forwards to provide much of the scoring punch for the next few weeks. Michael Walters really came on in the second half of last season and finished with 22 goals from 10 games. He started 2013 on fire with eight goals in his first three matches, but he finished with just one in the loss to the Hawks last weekend. If it’s another tight scrap, the Dockers’ livewire will crucial with his ability to create something out of nothing.

(Tigers) Alex Rance – It was one thing for young Bulldogs Liam Jones to boot a career high four goals on him in round 3, but the week after Alex Rance was completely dominated by Travis Cloke in the second half of the weekend’s biggest clash as the ‘Pies big man finished with seven. The young defender has been very good the past two seasons, but you have to wonder whether he’ll be down on confidence after his efforts the past fortnight. His job has been made slightly easier with Matthew Pavlich out of Fremantle’s forward line, but the likes of Chris Mayne and Kepler Bradley will still make sure he has his hands full.


Prediction

Even as they’ve been emerging as a quality side, the Tigers have still reached some pretty low ebbs in recent seasons. Even so, Richmond has managed to win on three of its last seven visits to Perth against both West Australian sides. The Dockers had won six straight at Patersons Stadium before falling away in the second half against Essendon in round 3. As much as they have improved on the road under Ross Lyon, Freo is a far different proposition at home, and should get home unless Richmond’s gun mids cut loose. The past couple of encounters, Ryan Crowley has gone to Brett Deledio , rather than Trent Cotchin , so it will be interesting to see how Lyon uses his gun tagger on Friday night. Dockers by 12 points

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