AFL Round 14 Preview: Freo Back In Action Against Bulldogs, West Coast Get A Week To Think About It

AFL Round 14 Preview: Freo Back In Action Against Bulldogs, West Coast Get A Week To Think About It

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While Round 12 was all about the umpiring, Round 13 was … again, about the umpiring. 

Controversial decisions late in games made headlines, forcing the AFL to come out and clarify more questionable calls. 

Speaking of questionable, Melbourne fans were again left scratching their heads, as the Demons put up a pathetic effort against Collingwood, while displays from Sydney and Carlton have made them most pundits’ picks for the grand final. 

North Melbourne got its first win of the season against an embarrassed West Coast side, so it’s lucky the Eagles will have a week off to think about what went wrong. 

Carlton, Essendon, Geelong, Melbourne and Gold Coast also have a bye this weekend, but there are plenty of intriguing games coming up that will surely shape the rest of the season. 

Let’s check them out. 

Play & Win

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Games To Watch

Brisbane vs. St Kilda (GABBA, Friday Night)

It might not be the most exciting game of football, but there is a lot riding on this one. 

The Lions look like they could be ‘back’ after taking care of the Bulldogs in a 43-point win last week, while questions remain over the Saints, despite winning their past two games against West Coast and Gold Coast. 

“I’ve got full faith in this group that we can go all the way,” Lions star Lachie Neale said post game, following his 38 disposals. 

The faith may not be there if they fall to the Saints this week, however, who sit just one spot behind them on the ladder in 14th. 

Ross Lyon’s side just got over the line against Gold Coast last week by three points in controversial circumstances, and his slow, low-scoring play has been heavily criticised this season. 

A win here would probably shut the critics up and keep St Kilda’s season alive. 

The Saints come into this one with a win-loss record of 5-8, while the Lions are 5-6 and a draw.

It’s almost ‘season on the line’ for both teams.


Brisbane comes in as strong favourite, and rightfully so. They’ve won the past four matches between the two sides and are unbeaten in their past two games at the GABBA. St Kilda’s footy doesn’t stack up against the Lions and should lose.

Brisbane by 25 points.

Richmond vs. Hawthorn (MCG, Saturday Afternoon)

This one is all about one man — Dustin Martin.

Dusty plays his 300th game this week, and you can bet every Richmond player will be putting their body on line to ensure the three-time Norm Smith Medalist can celebrate it with a win. 

The Tigers are in good form too, having beaten the Crows in Adelaide last week, after putting in respectable performances against Geelong and Essendon. 

Their form isn’t quite as good as the Hawks’ though, who are one of the toughest teams in the competition to beat right now. Hawthorn has won six of its past eight games after a poor start to the season, and can set up a run to the finals with a win here against the Tigers before the bye. 

The Hawks sit 12th on the ladder with six wins and seven losses, while Richmond is 17th, having won just two games for the year. 

With so much emotion around the game though, it really could go either way.


The Hawks should win, but Richmond is capable of pulling something special out for Dusty’s 300th. Especially when you look at the fact the Tigers haven’t lost to Hawthorn since Round 3, 2020. The last time these two sides met ended in a one-point win to Richmond. Could happen again.

Tigers by 1 point.

GWS vs. Port Adelaide (ENGIE Stadium, Sunday)

Again, another one that doesn’t sound all that intriguing on paper, but when you look at what it means for both sides, you simply can’t miss it.

The Giants are holding on to eighth spot just by percentage, while Port Adelaide is in fourth place, sharing the same amount of points as Geelong and Collingwood. 

With the league so tight, and so many clubs fighting for a finals spot, four points here will be extremely valuable. 

The Giants started the season well, but have dropped off significantly. The six-point loss to Hawthorn last week was disappointing as the Giants will need to win the majority of games from now on to have a real shot at its first flag. 

Port Adelaide have also been up and down, and their last game (before having the bye last week) ended in a bad six-goal loss to Carlton at home. 

There is a lot riding on this game of footy. It’s all to play for. 


Port Adelaide has proved it can win away from home this year, and GWS can’t be trusted. The Power is the safer pick here, but it could go either way.

Port Adelaide by 5 points

Fremantle Dockers

Last Week

Fremantle had the bye last week after smashing the Demons in Alice Springs by an incredible 92 points in Round 12.

This Week

The Dockers take on the Western Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon at Marvel Stadium, in what is a big test for the club. 

Freo will be full of momentum and confidence after the big win over Melbourne, but the Dogs are coming off a tough loss to Brisbane and looking to hit back to keep their finals hopes alive. 

The Bulldogs have had plenty of injury concerns, which has contributed to the side being 11th on the ladder with six wins and seven losses, but their strong midfield is fairly healthy. 

They’ll be keen to get a good start from the centre of the ground after they struggled in that area last week, as well as against the Dockers during their loss in Round 7.

The Bulldogs are favourites in the betting markets, but Fremantle should be confident with their form and recent history.

Talking Points

Win the ones that count

There wasn’t a person in the world who wasn’t surprised with Fremantle’s huge 92-point win over Melbourne. 

Firstly, the Dockers weren’t expected to win. Secondly, if they were to win, nobody expected it to be by that much.

It was a result that changed Fremantle’s entire outlook on the season, especially now realising they’re able to kick 141 points, while keeping the opposition to just seven goals. 

In saying that though, winning a game you’re expected to lose, is a different mental battle to winning one fans think you should. 

A loss here against the Bulldogs would mean the incredible result is all but forgotten. 

The Dockers need to start winning the ones they need to. 

A victory against the Bulldogs in Melbourne will lead to the momentum continuing and the belief growing even higher.

It would also mean, more importantly, the side could finish Round 14 in as high as third place on the ladder! 

Talk about a strange season. 

Straight shooting 

There have been questions over Fremantle’s ability to kick a score this season, but it looks like they’ve all been put to bed after last week’s effort. 

The Dockers kicked an unbelievable 22.9 against Melbourne.

Jye Amiss, who has had an inconsistent start to the season, kicked four, while Josh Treacy kicked three of his own to rise into the top 10 of the Coleman Medal race with 24 for the year – having the best goal accuracy of any player on that list. 

Treacy has been building steadily in 2024, producing career-best numbers. He’s already kicked more goals and taken more marks in the first 12 games of the year than he did for the whole of 2023.

The 21-year-old is a strong, consistent target up forward who also puts on tackling pressure once the ball hits the deck. 

If he and Amiss can hit the scoreboard once again against the Bulldogs, they’ll be hard to beat. 

Break the Bont 

Marcus Bontempelli is in incredible form this season, and will be another challenge for Fremantle’s midfield brigade this week. 

Justin Longmuir and the coaching staff will be confident they can curtail his influence though, holding him to a modest effort last time they played, and watching Jarrod Berry from Brisbane tag him out of the game last week. 

“We’ve played the Bulldogs already this year and we had some plans in place for him (Bontempelli) that we felt like were able to kind of work pretty well,” Caleb Serong said this week.

If the Dockers can break him once again, being the Bulldogs biggest weapon, they should be able to win this game. 

With Bont taken care of, the likes of Serong can continue their good form in the middle. 

Serong is just as crucial for the Dockers, being no.1 in the AFL for clearances (93) and  ground ball gets (125). 

If Bontempelli is quiet and Serong is loud, the Dockers should take the four points. 


It’s going to be tough away from home, but the Dockers can win this one and set up their season.

Fremantle by 8 points.

West Coast Eagles

West Coast has a bye this week, following their disappointing nine-point loss to North Melbourne last week. 

They will play Essendon at Marvel Stadium in Round 15.

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Featured image: Fremantle Dockers