Where and when: Optus Stadium, Saturday April 27, 6.10pm AWST
Last time they met: Optus Stadium, round five, 2018: Fremantle 16.12 (108) defeated Western Bulldogs 8.6 (54)
The Dockers brushed the young Dogs aside to remain undefeated at new home Optus Stadium, with skipper Nat Fyfe at his domineering best picking up a career-high 43 disposals. Michael Walters bagged five goals for the home side, but the win was soured by Matt Taberner suffering a fractured foot.
What it means for Fremantle: If there is a game the Dockers would want to win this year, outside of the Western Derby clashes, this would be it. The Len Hall Tribute Game is a massive event for the club and will be an even bigger occasion than normal with David Mundy playing his 300th game.
What it means for Western Bulldogs: The Dogs are losing credibility by the week and spoiling Mundy’s party would be a huge shot in the arm for their finals chances. After winning their first two games the Bullies have lost three straight, and getting belted by Carlton was deflating to say the least.
How Fremantle wins: The Dockers should have too much firepower at home for the Dogs to handle. If Fremantle plays with pace and dare in similar fashion to the upset win over the Giants, it’s hard to see the Dogs getting a toehold.
How the Western Bulldogs win: It will take a huge effort from onball stars Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae and Tom Liberatore to deny the Dockers enough forward 50 entries to kick a winning score. The Dogs have to dominate midfield and lock it in their attacking half.
The stat: It was like watching a man against boys when Nat Fyfe tore the Dogs apart last year. The Dockers skipper finished with 43 disposals, 21 contested possessions, 13 clearances, seven inside 50s and a goal.
The match-up: Nat Fyfe v Marcus Bontempelli
Fyfe might only be ranked sixth in the AFL Player Ratings but he has been almost unstoppable this season, averaging 9.5 clearances and 29.3 disposals, and is arguably the best player in the game. Bontempelli (18th) isn’t far behind and has averaged 29.8 touches and 6.4 clearances, but will need to be at his absolute best to match Fyfe’s output.
It’s a big week for: David Mundy
The much-loved veteran will chalk up 300 games in purple and fittingly be lauded for an outstanding career. Mundy, the 2010 Doig medallist and 2015 All Australian, is arguably Freo’s second-greatest player behind Matthew Pavlich, the only other WA-based player to reach the landmark, and deserves every plaudit coming his way this week.
Father Dougals’s Tip: Dockers by 10. Just hard to see the Dogs winning at Optus.
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