Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton has his reservations about the Dockers. Photo: Domino Postiglione
Hawthorn legend Dermott Brereton says Fremantle's finals wins were ''distorted'' and the first-time grand finalist was not ''Darth Vader in a purple jumper''.
The AFL world is gushing over the Dockers' finals campaign having travelled to beat Geelong at Simonds Stadium in the semi-final and then smothering an injury-depleted Sydney at home in the preliminary.
Many experts were rating Freo's first half against the Swans as the most impressive defensive display of the season, but Brereton had his reservations.
Hawk Dermott Brereton in the 1989 Grand Final.
The five-time premiership player felt his old club had clearly been the best team all year and finished top for a reason - because it had the game to counter its opponents' tactics.
''If you look at the Sydney Swans who Fremantle beat last week, they won two out of their last seven games … so we're getting a little bit of a distortion on the Fremantle win last week,'' Brereton said.
''Exceptional, really good, deserve to be in a grand final, fantastic, but they're not Darth Vader in a purple jumper.''
It wasn't a view shared by former North Melbourne champion Wayne Carey, one of the greats who has been seduced by Fremantle's pressure.
Carey said the type of football that Dockers coach Ross Lyon had his team playing was proven finals football - hard and contested, as opposed to the Hawks' possession-based style.
''I think Ross has done an apprenticeship in terms of grand finals, he got St Kilda to three grand finals so he's been there and done it before,'' Carey said.
''The way he's prepared [Fremantle], they play finals footy during home-and-away so I think they'll be very prepared.''
Geelong premiership captain Tom Harley had similar concerns over the Hawks' precise use of the football by foot.
He believes it will be exposed in the heat of a grand final - just like it was last year against Sydney. While Hawthorn dominated most of the key statistics in the 2012 decider, it failed in the most important one - the scoreboard.
Harley said it was a similar theme in the Hawks' drought-breaking win over Geelong in the prelim last Friday.
Hawthorn clearly dominated the game, but only just won.
''I don't think there'd be many people that would disagree Hawthorn was a more talented team [last week] but still came unstuck,'' Harley said.
''They should have won by more than they did and the possession style of game is fraught with danger, especially against a team like Fremantle.''