Dockers' Date With The Dees

Picture: Daniel Wilkins/Herald Sun
Michael Barlow has been a standout since joining the Dockers in 2011. Image courtesy of Herald Sun/Daniel Wilkins
Last Five Meetings

Round 23, 2012 – Fremantle 101 d Melbourne 40 (Patersons Stadium)
Round 16, 2012 – Fremantle 117 d Melbourne 83 (Etihad Stadium)
Round 13, 2011 – Melbourne 149 d Fremantle 60 (MCG)
Round 16, 2010 – Fremantle 82 d Melbourne 71 (Subiaco Oval)
Round 20, 2009 – Melbourne 127 d Fremantle 64 (MCG)


Form

     Rd 4       Rd 5       Rd 6       Rd 7       Rd 8   
Fremantle   L  W  W  W  D
Melbourne   W  L  L  L  L

You have to give a lot of credit to Ross Lyon for his ability to keep Fremantle , playing at a very high level despite the loss of so many topliners. The Dockers performed admirably last week to pull off a draw against premier Sydney and that result came on the back of three straight wins against Richmond, Gold Coast and Collingwood.

As has happened so many times this season, Freo didn’t escape unscathed from that stalemate with the Swans. Dynamic small forward Michael Walters rolled his ankle and is expected to be out for up to a month.

That’s small fry compared to the problems Mark Neeld is dealing with at Melbourne . There was speculation this week about the futures of Jack Watts, James Frawley and Colin Sylvia, undoubtedly three of the more talented players on the Demons’ list. Watts returns to the 22 this weekend after a stint on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.



Key Men

(Dockers) Michael Barlow – Teams have been steering towards mature-age players over the past few seasons, but few teams have got as much value out of an older rookie than Fremantle has out of Michael Barlow . He’s a consistent ball-winner and hard tackler, using his 191cm and 90-odd kg frame to great effect. The Dockers have a stack of big-bodied midfielders and Barlow is one of the best, even if he doesn’t have the skill-set of a Nathan Fyfe . Expect him to rack up the touches against a Melbourne team which was absolutely smashed at the clearances by Richmond last week.

(Demons) Aaron Davey – In each of the last five seasons Aaron Davey has kicked less than ten goals, after starting out his career as a valuable small forward. He is playing further up the ground this year and has kicked multiples in three games, including a bag of three last weekend against Richmond, in what was his best AFL outing for some time. He is nowhere near the player he used to be, but in a very young Melbourne side, they can do with his experience.


Prediction

Fremantle hasn’t scored over 100 points in a game in the past five rounds, but this match presents the perfect opportunity for Ross Lyon to throw caution to the wind and let some of his players loose forward of the ball. The Demons were sort of in the game for three quarters against the Tigers, but that was probably as much to do with the Tigers wastefulness than anything. Melbourne had a dip, though, and that’s all supporters can ask for on one of the hardest road trips in the league. Round 11, 2004, was the last time the Demons triumphed over the Dockers in Perth. The Dees will probably have to wait until 2014 or beyond to snap that streak. Dockers by 58 points

Click here to bet on AFL Round 9 Matches