As a Fremantle Dockers supporter, the sting of the 45th Western Derby loss to the West Coast Eagles is still slightly lingering… I have been avoiding Eagles supporters at all costs!
The Fremantle Dockers come into Round 7 off a 41-point loss to their cross-town rivals, the West Coast Eagles. It was an Eagles home game and they came out firing in the first quarter and appeared to take the Dockers by surprise, recording a 36-point margin at quarter time. The remaining three quarters were fairly even between the two WA sides, unfortunately for the Dockers, they just couldn’t close that original margin gap.
Fremantle play at Domain Stadium again this week when they take on the Bombers, and will be looking to bounce back after last week’s defeat. Some big Freo names, such as Nat Fyfe and Michael Walters, were fairly quiet against the Eagles however, I expect them to step it up a notch on Sunday in front of their home crowd. Coach Ross Lyon has included Matt Taberner and Cam Sutcliffe into the squad this week after their impressive performances for Peel Thunder in the WAFL. Griffin Logue, Tommy Sheridan and Nick Suban have been named as emergencies.
The Bombers have made numerous changes to their line-up this week. Jobe Watson, Andrew McGrath and Ben McNiece have been ‘rested’, Tom Bellchambers has been omitted and Mitch Brown is out with an ankle injury. Michael Hartley, Aaron Francis, James Kelly, David Myers, Matthew Leuenberger and Brent Stanton have been included into the mix, along with newbies James Stewart and Kobe Mutch, who will be looking to play their first game.
The Dockers have won six of the last eight encounters against Essendon, and both teams come into this game with three wins for the 2017 season. The winner of this game can increase their win-loss record to 4-3 and continue happily on their hunt for a top eight position.
Connor Blakely has been impressive in his new ‘tagging’ role for Fremantle and will likely be tasked with keeping Bomber Zach Merrett out of the game. Dockers defender Joel Hamling had a tough task against in-form Eagle Josh Kennedy last week. I assume Hamling will be matched up with Joe Daniher on Sunday, who hasn’t been too accurate in front of goal lately, finishing last week’s game against Melbourne with just one goal and six behinds. Daniher will be looking to make amends this week so Hamling will need to stick to him like glue to prevent him from having any sort of an impact.