Upstart Dogs Look To Dine On Dockers

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Michael Klein
Ryan Griffen was superb against the Lions in round 1. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au/Michael Klein
Last 5 Meetings

Round 15, 2012 – Fremantle Dockers 95 d Western Bulldogs 57
Round 24, 2011 – Western Bulldogs 107 d Fremantle Dockers 61
Round 5, 2011 – Fremantle Dockers 85 d Western Bulldogs 78
Round 17, 2010 – Western Bulldogs 158 d Fremantle Dockers 76
Round 18, 2009 – Western Bulldogs 111 d Fremantle Dockers 80


Form

  Rd 1 
Western Bulldogs    W
Fremantle  W


It was more than a mild shock to see the Western Bulldogs destroy NAB Cup champion Brisbane last Saturday. This was a team that had lost 11 on the bounce and most of those were complete and utter floggings. Full credit to the young Bulldogs, though, who harassed the Lions out of their game. He didn’t get many touches but Nick Lower did a standout job on Daniel Rich keeping the in-form left-footer to just eight possessions all game.

Given the split round, Fremantle’s effort in overwhelming near neighbour West Coast in the derby clash at Patersons Stadium has almost been forgotten. The Dockers’ big-bodied midfielders will be etched in the minds of the Eagles for weeks to come, though, after they bullied their opponents at the centre clearances. Even without an underdone Matthew Pavlich firing, Freo still managed to get plenty of goals out of its small forwards to compensate.

Bulldogs skipper Matthew Boyd will miss another week with a calf injury, and given he has averaged 37 touches over his last four games against the Dockers, he will be sorely missed.


Key Men

(Bulldogs) Ryan Griffen – A prolific ball-winner, Griffen also showed last week he can take smaller opponents forward and make use of his ability in the air. With his partner-in-crime Matthew Boyd out of action again, Griffen leads the talented but inexperienced Bulldogs midfield in to battle. He was kept very quiet last time the teams met and needs to lift another notch if the Bulldogs are to make it two from two.

(Dockers) Jonathon Griffin – No Aaron Sandilands and Zac Clarke, no problems for the Dockers. As he in the middle of last season, Jonathon Griffin showed he is a more than adequate back-up in the ruck and showed his ability around the ground, as well. Griffin and Kepler Bradley broke even against Dean Cox, and with the former holding his own in the middle, it allowed Bradley to move forward in the third quarter to give Freo a different target inside 50.


Prediction

There have long been queries over the Dockers’ ability to travel, but last season they won on five of their six trips to Melbourne, including their elimination final victory over Geelong. The home team has won the last five contests between these teams and, despite its improvement on the road last season, Freo hasn’t beaten the ‘Dogs in Melbourne since 2004. Jordan Roughead did the job on Jonathon Brown last week, but the Lions skipper didn’t see much ball. If Matthew Pavlich has ridded himself of the off-season rust he showed in round one, Roughead will have his hands full after big Pav kicked six in the corresponding match last season. Dockers by 15 points

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