Fremantle play the Gold Coast in their second last game at Subiaco Oval, and while the Dockers will try and take meaning from that, in reality though, it’s a night more meaningful for Rodney Eade than for anyone else.
Fremantle have opted to recall some experienced names in place of some younger ones, something, ironically, has stunted the progress of the Gold Coast in their formative years. 19-year old ruckman Sean Darcy has been rested, despite his reluctance, after shouldering the ruck work single-handedly for over a month, and 2014 draftee Connor Blakely isn’t shouldering anything this week after twice dislocating his shoulder last weekend. Jon Griffin and Danyle Pearce return as their replacements. The Gold Coast have some big ‘ins’, with Steven May and Gary Ablett amongst 6 changes. Daniel Currie plays his first game for the season, and has plenty of work to do, taking over Jarrod Witts’ position in the ruck.
Both of these sides were described as ‘gutsy’ last weekend, after fighting losses to sides in top four contentions. Fremantle commanded their game against GWS for 3 quarters before fatigue and the class of the Giants took control. The Gold Coast kept Richmond within arms-length for most of the night, despite going down by 33 points.
A change in attitude from Fremantle saw them take the game on with confidence, certainly more so than they have over the previous month. Their positioning and vision were both good enough for them to play a 45-degree ball into the corridor and move the ball with freedom and room as a result. It’s something that they don’t always execute at Subiaco Oval with the temptation of utilising the wide expanses, but it’s a move that they need to continue with to increase their scoring opportunities.
For the Gold Coast, the major issue will be the ruck. This is an area they struggled with since Zac Smith left for Geelong and although Jarrod Witts has shown competency, his shoulder injury means that it’s time for someone else to stand up. It’s been a tough run for Daniel Currie after two separate thumb injuries derailed his 2016 season, and the signing of Witts left him as the number 3 ruckman. The Gold Coast is Currie’s third club, after being drafted by Sydney in 2006, delisted, redrafted by North Melbourne, debuting in 2014, and then being traded to the Suns by the Kangaroos. This is the last chance for Currie to earn a ruck spot because the Gold Coast rebuild can afford no passengers.
Fremantle have shifted Connor Blakely to half-back in an effort to increase intercept marking and pace in transition. Blakely’s injury has paved the way for Danyle Pearce to play just his third game for the year, the first since Round 2. Pearce offers some pace off half-back, an area the Dockers probably have well covered with Weller and the Hill brothers. The issue is that his his ball use is questionable at best, and he lacks the height to be a dominant force in the marking stakes. Lyon is probably counting on the fact that only Tom Lynch will require absolute attention in the Gold Coast forward-line and that will free up Michael Johnson to operate as the loose defender.
Lachie Weller has been named in the centre as opposed to the half-back position he has occupied during 2017, and Stephen Hill is named to start on a half-back flank. Gary Ablett starts in the middle for his return, he is expected to spend time up forward to avoid any unnecessary strain or contact.
FB: Suban, Hamling, Ryan
HB: Logue, Johnson, Hill
C: Weller, Neale, Hill
HF: Crozier, Kersten, Grey
FF: Ballantyne, McCarthy, Cox
Foll: Griffin, Fyfe, Mundy
I/C: Hughes, Tucker, Sutcliffe, Pearce
FB: Harbrow, May, Scrimshaw
HB: Joyce, McKenzie, Saad
C: Hall, Ablett, Rosa
HF: Schoenfeld, Lynch, Lemmens
FF: Macpherson, Wright, Martin
Foll: Currie, Miller, Hanley
I/C: Sexton, Hallahan, Swallow, Spencer
It’s largely been fatigue rather than incompetence that have inhibited Fremantle this year, and they should have too much ability for a Gold Coast side that have been good at times but is now longing for the end of the season.
Fremantle by 18 points.
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?