Dockers on the improve ahead of Dogs clash
Fremantle assistant coach Jaymie Graham believes his side is close to turning a corner after their sluggish start to the season.
The Dockers have not been at their best in following up last year’s successes of finishing fifth and winning a final, currently sitting with a 2-3 record with wins over West Coast and Gold Coast countered by losses to St Kilda, North Melbourne, and Adelaide.
Graham told Sports Breakfast the club was working to address some key areas that needed improvement.
“We have had slow starts which have made things a little bit difficult and put us on the back foot,” Graham said. “Our contest, when we get it right around the ground but also ahead of the ball, we create really good opportunities for our small forwards when we get that right, and we’ve been a little bit inconsistent in that area, which has limited our scoring.
“The slow starts don’t help because there’s a mental aspect to it as well, the opposition are in front and have got their tails up and we’re always chasing from behind, so it’s going to be important that we get off to a good one tonight and jump into the game.”
Fremantle will renew hostilities with the Western Bulldogs tonight at Optus Stadium in a clash set to have some extra spice, doubling as both the return of traded forward Rory Lobb and a rematch of last year’s elimination final.
Graham said he was expecting a “great game”.
“Every game seems to be important, there’s no easy ones, and we’re in a similar position to the Bulldogs,” he said.
“Their midfield is really strong, so that’s going to be great battle in there, they like to flick it around and keep it alive and if they can get some field position for their big tall forward line, they’re going to be hard to stop.
“Along with the ruck, Sean and [Jackson] against Tim English, who’s in very good form, so it’s going to be a good challenge.”
The clash also doubles as Fremantle’s annual Len Hall Tribute Game commemorating the spirit of the ANZACs, with Graham saying the importance of the occasion was not lost on the playing group.
“We’re very, very privileged,” he said.
“It’s a massive weekend for the club, we get great support around it.
“It’s great that we can do it on a Friday night and we can pack out Optus Stadium so the rest of Australia can see it as well.”
Bounce down is at 6:10 pm.