Where and when: Metricon Stadium, Sunday March 31, 3.40pm AEST
Last time they met: Optus Stadium, round three, 2018: Fremantle 13.18 (96) beat Gold Coast 10.8 (68)
Gold Coast won its first two matches under Stuart Dew but came crashing back to earth in this one. Without their own home ground while the Commonwealth Games took centre stage, the Suns sold this match to Fremantle but it was the Dockers who cashed in. Superstar Nat Fyfe was incredible, tallying 38 disposals, 14 clearances, eight tackles and two goals in the win.
What it means for Gold Coast: The Suns have spent the pre-season telling us they want to give their fans a team to be proud of – here’s their first chance.
What it means for Fremantle: After so much rightful praise for their round one victory, the Dockers need to validate it with another bold showing against a team they should beat.
How Gold Coast wins: The Suns must dominate in the trenches, starting with a better connection between Jarrod Witts and his midfielders. Gold Coast can create more than enough avenues to score if it does this and cuts down its unforced turnovers.
How Fremantle wins: Play the way it did against North Melbourne last week. The swift ball movement that undid the Kangaroos can also hurt a Suns outfit not blessed with a ton of pace.
The stat: He gives most teams trouble, but Nat Fyfe owns Gold Coast. His average of 30.6 disposals and 8.5 clearances a game are both higher than against any other opponent. He also has nine Brownlow Medal votes in six matches.
The match-up: Touk Miller v Nat Fyfe
Fyfe (third overall in the AFL’s Official Player Ratings) started his season in blistering form with 10 clearances, five from the centre, against North. Miller (148th overall) might not have a direct tagging job but should line up on the Freo skipper at plenty of stoppages. If Fyfe cuts loose, Gold Coast is in for a long day.
It’s a big week for: Jack Hombsch
Now at his third club the versatile defender will play his 100th game. While it’s a nice milestone for Hombsch, the 26-year-old will also have his hands full with Fremantle’s three-pronged tall forward line proving a handful for North Melbourne last weekend. Slowing down Cam McCarthy or Matt Taberner would help his team immeasurably.
Father Dougals’s Tip: Fremantle by 24. I just don’t see a team that can’t handle the Saints beating the Dockers. Who do the Suns have to match Fyfe? I have high confidence in this pick. How weak would it be to waffle about this one?
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