Stringing together wins has been hard for the Bulldogs. Source: Getty Images/theaustralian.com.au
Western Bulldogs v Fremantle
Sunday June 1 – 3:20 PM (AEST)
Western Bulldogs: LLLWL
Sitting just two wins from the foot of the table, the Western Bulldogs will be out to cause an upset when they clash with Fremantle on Sunday.
The Bulldogs head into this encounter following a big loss to the Gold Coast last week, and they will have to turn their form around quickly, to be any chance against the Dockers. The match review panel handed Clay Smith a one-match ban for rough conduct, but his stint on the sidelines will be much longer than that after injuring his AC joint late in the match against the Suns last Sunday. The gritty midfielder received a knock in a marking contest, but bravely played through the pain. The 21-year-old has been cursed with injuries and last week’s damage came on his senior team return from an ACL problem. A host of VFL players have been named in the 25 man squad including Mitch Wallis, Nathan Hrovat, Christian Howard and Jason Johannisen, but three of them will be omitted.
Freo profited from a bye last week and that extra break has given Luke McPharlin the time to recover from a quad problem. McPharlin has been sidelined since round seven, but the fullback will be a welcome return into the Docker’s line-up. Young defensive forward, Brad Grey, is set to make his AFL debut for Freo after being named in the 25-man squad. The 18-year-old is expected to fill the vacant position left by an injured Matt De Boer, who is looking at up to six weeks on the sidelines after damaging the medial ligament in his left knee at training on Wednesday.
Fremantle have won three of the past four meetings between the two sides, and are well backed to continue their dominance over the Bulldogs. The Dogs have struggled this season to score points, managing to notch more than 100 points on just one occasion – and that was against the Giants. It wouldn’t be all that surprising though if Freo are made to work hard for this victory, and on their day, the Bulldogs are capable of upsetting the Dockers, particularly at Etihad Stadium.