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Where: TIO Stadium, Darwin
When: Saturday July 5, 10.10am (BST)
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On paper this match is a foregone conclusion.
However, under Paul Roos, Melbourne have become a competitive side capable of giving the top sides a scare with their high defensive pressure.
Melbourne were unfortunate to lose to the Bulldogs last week and will have felt aggrieved at some of the umpiring decisions that didn’t go their way, though they will have to rectify skill errors made if they are to have any chance of toppling the high-flying Dockers.
Ross Lyons’ Dockers outfit come into the game full of confidence after beating rivals West Coast in the Western Derby last week.
Fremantle bring back Luke McPharlin and Matt de Boer back into the side, while Anthony Morabito finally gets his chance after almost four seasons out of AFL action with knee issues.
The humidity in Darwin will no doubt take its toll on the the players, and it may come down to who deals with the conditions the best.
Still, you’d expect the Dockers to win this comfortably.
1. Fremantle has had a recent stranglehold over Melbourne, having won 10 of the past 14 games between the sides. The Dockers have also won the last four against the Demons.
2. The Dockers are the best-performed contested marking team in the competition in 2014, averaging 11.5 per game. The Demons aren’t far behind, ranked sixth with 10.4 a game.
3. Melbourne will need to limit the impact of Fremantle big man Aaron Sandilands. The Dockers ruckman is ranked second in the League for average hit-outs with 40.2 a game.
4. Fremantle is consistently giving its forwards a chance to score. That’s thanks largely to having the two best inside 50 players in the competition. Danyle Pearce has had a total of 80 inside 50s, ahead of Stephen Hill’s 74.
5. This will be Melbourne’s fifth home game at TIO Stadium. The Demons have a 2-2 win/loss ratio at the venue, but have dropped their past two games.
6. Recently re-signed Docker David Mundy is Fremantle’s best performer in the Official AFL Player Ratings against Melbourne, averaging 14.6 player ratings points. Melbourne defender Colin Garland (21st of small-medium defenders) has dropped 49 places this season – the biggest drop at the club.