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Help from above wouldn't go astray for the Dockers

A little divine inspiration wouldn't go astray for the Dockers.

A little divine inspiration wouldn't go astray for the Dockers.

They were perhaps thankful for that deserved win over a stuttering Hawthorn on Saturday afternoon at Subiaco Oval, and were probably praying for at least one more favour: to beat Geelong on Friday night on the hallowed turf of the MCG in another "win or go home" scenario and keep the candlelight of a wonderful season flickering in the wind.

It's going to be a monumental task to knock off a side that has challenged - and secured - premiership honours in the past three seasons.

We know what Geelong is capable of and the array of weapons they have. The talent of Ablett, Bartel, Chapman, Corey, Enright, Scarlett, Milburn et al has been there for all of us to see for some time now and has been well-documented in the footy pages.

So there's no need to get into any of that in detail here.

I had the pleasure of sitting opposite Bob Maumill in the 6PR studios yesterday and several Dockers fans who rang up to speak to one of the doyens of Perth radio felt the team was on a roll and could knock off the Cats at the 'G, who the callers said were starting to get a little old and slow.

What's that saying again: Beware the wounded ... cats.

Geelong will be stinging from that close-call defeat to St Kilda on Friday night and have the tools in the shed to get their season back on track - that's if it was derailed somewhat after the much-maligned Cameron Mooney was judged to have pushed Saints defender James Gwilt in the back in those final thrilling seconds.

Freo has the momentum of two big wins - one a mini-final to Carlton and then Saturday's dismantling of the Hawks - and it's fair to say they now have nothing to lose.

The Dockers earned the right to host a home final and while many believed the Hawks had the experience, finals nous and form in the second half of the season to beat Freo, they seemed to have forgotten the sheer impact a sell-out, hostile and finals-hungry crowd can have on the game.

And as Dockers coach Mark Harvey said during the week, the Freo faithful have been crucial to the team's emergence this season and the first year players have thrived in that environment.

The Dockers ticked that box named "win home final" with a convincing display, and if they can simply replicate the vigour, passion and energy they showed in that memorable round three win over the Cats at Subi - remember Paul Duffield's goal with just seconds left? - there's no reason to suggest they shouldn't be in contention at the last change.

Harvey said his players won't be "daunted" by the task that awaits the team in Victoria, and why should they be?

To borrow one of John Worsfold's favourite words, it sure is going to be another "challenge" for Harvey's troops.

No fewer than a dozen players ran on to the ground on Saturday for their first final, and showed no signs of stage fright.

Dockers legend Peter Bell didn't expect the youngsters to have any fears of playing in their first finals game, but conceded they had to contend with the "element of the unknown".

Well that unknown no longer exists, but for six players who played in the Hawks clash, another new experience awaits them should they all be selected.

For Michael Walters, Anthony Morabito, Nat Fyfe, Jesse Crichton, Alex Silvagni and Dylan Roberton have never played at the MCG.

This will be another learning curve for them and it remains to be seen how they can handle the elements and emotions surrounding the occasion.

Playing in a final - any final - at the MCG is a dream for any player.

Sure it's only six players, but everyone on the team will need to be on top of their game against the all-round might of the Cats if the Dockers are to seriously trouble Mark Thompson's side.

Win or lose on Friday, the season has officially been a big success, in my humble opinion.

Can I just say, the way Harvey and the team dealt with the harsh criticism of their decision to rest those players from that Tasmania clash - who cares about that game any more? - needs to be applauded.

When Freo won a week later against Carlton and then knocked off that very same Hawthorn team that beat them by 116 points in that game, there was no gloating from Harvey, nor were there any pointed retorts towards those same critics.

All Harvey will say in public is the club believed in their strategy all along - and to their credit it's worked to perfection.

Now for Geelong, and the chance to turn them into stray cats with plenty more of that same "daring" attitude the players took into the Hawks game on Saturday.

And a little bit of divine intervention - and some luck - wouldn't go astray either.

2 comments so far

  • Had a great day at Subi on saturday......except for the fact that they ran out of keg beer then case beer and that was before 3 quarter time!

    Date and time
    September 06, 2010, 3:31PM
    • Well divine intervention won't help because it's not real, but I will say this: Freo have won against the odds many times this season, including Geelong in round 3 - and they continue to be underestimated. Meanwhile, Geelong haven't been as great as in previous seasons - you really can't separate their quality from St Kilda or the Bulldogs in any meaningful way. The Pies are the only team that has really dominated.

      So, with the right players on form and a bit of luck, who knows.

      Date and time
      September 08, 2010, 11:24AM

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