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Freo to put the screws on Crows


Fremantle is playing with confidence and is at the peak of its powers.

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Real Footy finals: Adelaide v Fremantle

It's week two of footy finals and Michael Gleeson, Robert Walls and Emma Quayle take you through the team line-ups for Friday night's clash.

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FIVE weeks ago at home, the Crows comfortably beat the Dockers by 28 points. That day, Rising Star winner Daniel Talia kept Matthew Pavlich in check, and two of the Dockers' very best, Aaron Sandilands and Nathan Fyfe, didn't play. Tonight, again at AAMI Stadium, it will be different.

Talia has a broken arm and won't play, but Sandilands and Fyfe will. Since that victory, the Crows have lost two games and won two.

The Dockers, however, have not missed a beat, winning all four games by an average of six goals.

Aaron Sandilands of the Dockers.

Aaron Sandilands of the Dockers. Photo: Getty Images

So the Crows need to be switched on and learn a lesson from last Saturday night, when the complacent Cats got smashed, as they underestimated just how fierce and frantic Fremantle can be.


The Dockers pulled up healthy in body and mind after their Geelong triumph. It can't be undersold just how much confidence the Dockers would have gained from that win. It was huge. But it was impressive how the purple haze took it in their stride. As coach Ross Lyon said: ''Just another step in taking the team to where they want to go.''

Fremantle's midfield is the best it has been all year. Sandilands is rucking well and, more importantly, it is winning the clearances. Stephen Hill, Fyfe and David Mundy are quality inside and outside players; they win contested ball but their run and finish is setting up plenty of scoring opportunities. Ryan Crowley is keeping control of whichever midfield star he is assigned, while Clancee Pearce and Tendai Mzungu cover enormous ground to help out the defence. They also relish the hard hitting of bodies.

In defence, the Dockers like to run three talls. Alex Silvagni did a fine job replacing the injured Luke McPharlin last week, while Zac Dawson kept Tom Hawkins goalless. This enables the mobile Michael Johnson to sweep across the half-back line, blocking forward advances.

Adam McPhee's confidence is at an all-time high and his attack on the ball, especially in the air, has been first rate. And the low-key Paul Duffield continues to be the Dockers' best defensive rebounder.

Up forward, Pavlich, Chris Mayne, Hayden Ballantyne and Michael Walters are all kicking and creating goals, and Matt de Boer leads the way by locking the ball in with red-hot chasing and ferocious tackling. The class of Walters shouldn't be underestimated. He is not fast, but he is a quick thinker, clean ball handler and finishes off his work with aplomb.


The Crows kick a lot and handball a little. They like to kick long, take contested marks and rely on marks being taken in their forward 50 to kick goals.

In the home-and-away season they were the second-highest scoring team, behind Hawthorn. Sam Jacobs has been the best tap ruckman for the season. His work has helped the Crows excel at winning clearances and contested ball in close, tight situations.

To have jumped from 14th to second is a credit to new coach Brenton Sanderson. But the reality of finals pressure hit home last week, when the experienced Swans put the stranglehold on the Crows. As good as the Crows have been, they have an unhealthy reliance on too few. Jacobs, Taylor Walker and Kurt Tippett up forward and Scott Thompson and Patrick Dangerfield in the midfield have carried this team. The Swans were good enough and clever enough to lessen the influence of the Adelaide stars. None of the five guns fired. Especially disappointing were the two big boys up forward. They normally kick five goals a game between them. Last week, it was one.

There's no doubt Lyon will target the Crows stars again, so it is vital that others step up. Rory Sloane was good last week, but has to be even better. Up forward, Ian Callinan, Jared Petrenko, Jason Porplyzia and Graham Johncock have to hit the scoreboard. They didn't last week, with their team scoring a paltry five goals from 59 forward-50 entries.


The Crows need to be conscious of using all their forwards and not just bombing long to Walker and Tippett. So the midfielders need to lower their eyes and take a fraction longer with the ball to ensure they spot up leading players inside the forward 50. In the absence of Talia, Ben Rutten should be made responsible for the hot Pavlich. As the Crows will be short of a tall defender, Sandilands may be asked to rest in the goal square.

After Dangerfield and Thompson, the Crows fall off markedly in the midfield. If both are restricted to good games instead of very good games, the Crows will struggle. So expect Crowley to take Thompson, and Fyfe to go head-to-head with Dangerfield. Silvagni and Dawson kept Podsiadly and Hawkins goalless last week. If they can do that again on Walker and Tippett, it will be game over.

Brent Reilly is the Crows' most effective defensive rebounder. Ballantyne will be set to keep him busy and limit his influence.

The Dockers are a selfless team and will rely on 22 players fulfilling their role. They hunt in packs and run hard to outnumber the opposition. They are organised at the stoppages and keep a forward structure in place so that when they get a fast clearance, they always have targets to aim at.


Fremantle: Stephen Hill. The speedy left-footer can be a game breaker as he makes lots of 80-metre plays. If tagged, he is willing to reverse roles and hunt a Dangerfield type if required.

Adelaide: Patrick Dangerfield. He dominates in so many areas for his team. He is No.1 for contested possessions, long kicks and inside-50s. He is No.2 for disposals and clearances. Dangerfield is a star, whose inspirational plays could be the difference.


Fremantle to win. The Dockers' continual harassment to wear down the Crows' lesser lights means the stars have to shine. And that won't happen due to the strong negating tactics that will be employed by the Dockers.

Fremantle by 20 points.


  • Either Seven pre-planned to pull back their cameras to see more of the ground or the Dockers ability to honeycomb the players across the full area of the "G" v Cats last week forced them to. I'm not sure which.
    Some of Sevens best camera work for the year.

    Date and time
    September 14, 2012, 9:08AM
    • When Geelong went forward there were 36 players clogging their half. They couldn't get a clean possesion or hit up an unmanned target. Have never seen so many smothers off the boot by Freo. The actual pressure on the Cats soon manifestered into implied pressure with the likes of Bartel etc fumbling and coughing it up even when open. The Purple Haze would then get their turn-over and whip is down to an open forward line where Pav could use his strength and mobility. The fortunate key was that Freo managed to get a solid lead early that they could protect. This enabled then to form the defensive zone when neccessary, blocking the Cats forward half whenever the Cats looked like getting a role on. Worked well. Crows need to be on their game from the very start as Freo did look very hungry and played with absolutely nothing to lose.

      Date and time
      September 14, 2012, 9:39AM
    • Yeah, thanks channel 7, you're so great.

      Date and time
      September 14, 2012, 9:50AM
    • Shame it wasn't in HD.

      Date and time
      September 14, 2012, 12:05PM
  • The crows were a little rattled last week but 13 players were in their first final. I feel that they will rebound well this week as good sides do. You do not win 17 games in a seson if you are not a really good footy side and I think the crows will have too many guns around the park for Fremantle to handle. Geelong gave the dockers a 50 point start last week and nearly ran them down and I do not expect the same thing in this clash as adelaide will be ready and firing early after last weeks nervous start. The crows should win by about 4 to 6 goals and their big fellas will bag roughly 7 between them as dawson and silvagni will be exposed tonight for sure. Henderson is also a really big inclusion as he will stretch the dockers defence even further and he kicked six against the dockers last time, so they do have some problems in defence, and although pav is playing out of his skin, if he does not kick a bag of five , I do not see where the goals are going to come from.

    Date and time
    September 14, 2012, 9:18AM
    • "You do not win 17 games in a seson if you are not a really good footy side"

      You do if 8 of those games are against Gold Coast, GWS, Melbourne and Port Adelaide and another against the Bulldogs. Adelaide wouldn't be top 4 without the soft fixture.

      Dockers have plenty of goal kickers besides Pavlich, but they are one of the best defensive teams in the comp now, so can still win without kicking bags of goals.

      Date and time
      September 14, 2012, 9:50AM
    • I agree wiseman, the young Crows were overawed last week. Sydney did play very well though, and if they continue that intensity they could very well win the premiership this year. I expect Dangerfield and Thompson to really fire up tonight and will be very hard to stop. Personally I would switch Tippett and Walker from their normal positions which would unsettle the Dockers defence.

      I think the Crows will bounce back this week, they are the only side to beat Fremantle in their last 11 games. I tip the Crows by 18 points.

      Date and time
      September 14, 2012, 10:29AM
    • Adelaide lost to the best defensive team last week, and are up against the second best defensive team this week. As Walls has pointed out, they played a long bomb game and lost to Sydney, and if there was a second dimension to attack they would have used it last week.

      In case you missed it, Fremantle kicked its equal highest score of the season against North Melbourne 3 weeks ago and Pavlich wasn't even on the park.

      Finals are won bringing the ball out of defence (i.e. turn overs), so with Ballantyne, De Boer and Mayne smashing the Adelaide runners, Dangerfield will have to play deep which means kicking the ball long, taking them back to a strategy that won't win the game.

      Date and time
      September 14, 2012, 12:59PM
    • "You do not win 17 games in a seson if you are not a really good footy side"

      unless 14 of them are against sides that the orbost under 15 girls side would give a run for their money...

      samuel coleridge
      Date and time
      September 14, 2012, 1:53PM
    • You also do win 17 games in a season if you get 2 games each against Gold Coast, GWS & Port... fortunately for the Cows they did, hence they are still around in the final 6 of season 2012.

      Freo for me by a couple of goals.

      Victorian living in SA
      Date and time
      September 14, 2012, 3:21PM

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