Bombers Circling In The West

Image courtesy of perthnow.com.au
Essendon won both their matches in the west last season. Image courtesy of perthnow.com.au

FREMANTLE v ESSENDON

Patersons Stadium, Sunday April 13, 4:40pm (AEST)

Why watch?

Arguably the match of the round with two sides gunning for top four locking horns in the twilight clash at Patersons Stadium. Fremantle are coming off a comprehensive loss to Hawthorn and it will be interesting to see how they respond. Unfortunately they have been hit hard by injuries and suspensions but there will be some relief with a few key inclusions looking likely. Essendon are flying with two big wins over North Melbourne and Carlton either side of a heartbreaking loss to the Hawks. They have the hallmarks of a premiership contender, but can they go over to Perth and beat one of the flag favourites?

Match notes

- Zac Dawson returns from suspension, but Nat Fyfe still has another week to serve
- Michael Walters will miss and could face longer out with ankle surgery a real possibility
- Veterans Paul Chapman and Dustin Fletcher both unlikely to be risked
- Fremantle are the number one ranked side for inside 50s with an average of 58 per game
- Essendon have more disposals than any other side with an average of 435 per game

Say what?

"This week we go up against Sandilands, so maybe if Paddy does play it's not going to make much difference," Essendon coach Mark Thompson said.

Key injuries

Michael Barlow (knee) – 4-6 weeks
Kepler Bradley (knee) – 2-3 weeks
Nat Fyfe (suspended) – Round 5 return
Scott Gumbelton (hamstring) – 9 weeks
Garrick Ibbotson (shoulder) – 2-4 weeks
Chris Mayne (ankle) – test
Michael Walters (ankle) - TBC
Tom Bellchambers (ankle) – test
Paul Chapman (ankle) – unlikely
Courtenay Dempsey (hamstring) – 2-3 weeks
Dustin Fletcher (soreness) – unlikely
Kyle Hardingham (quad) – test
Paddy Ryder (ankle) - test

Last 5 games (includes 2013 season)

Fremantle
W 25 Sydney
L 15 Hawthorn
W 70 Collingwood
W 48 Gold Coast
L 58 Hawthorn

Essendon
W 6 Carlton
L 39 Richmond
W 39 North Melbourne
L 4 Hawthorn
W 81 Carlton

Last 5 between clubs

Ess-Ess-Fre-Fre-Fre

Fantasy factoid

Essendon have conceded the least amount of fantasy points to opposition sides, so be careful with your Fremantle players this week!

Cold hard fact

Last week's loss to Hawthorn was only the third time since the start of 2013 Fremantle have conceded more than 100 points.

Final Word

Pre-season you would have marked this one down as an easy Fremantle win, but not now. Key players missing and last week's results make this clash almost 50-50. The home ground advantage probably swings the momentum to the Dockers, but it will be silly to write off the Bombers. They have won their past two matches against Freo at the venue and we expect them to make it three.

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