Fremantle coach Ross Lyon is confident his side will be able to withstand Port Adelaide’s run-and-stun game plan in Sunday’s AFL clash at Domain Stadium.
The Power’s relentless running has been a key to their resurgence under coach Ken Hinkley over the past two years, with many pundits tipping them to reach this year’s grand final.
In contrast, Fremantle’s ageing list is expected to slide down the table, especially if injuries strike.
The Power enter Sunday’s clash with a full-strength side, and Lyon said his charges are primed to match fire with fire.
“Port Adelaide are a hard and relentless running team, but we like to think we are too,” Lyon said.
“We know our last quarters rank in the top two or three in the AFL. We know we’ve had a super summer.
“We’ve done more work (than ever before) and we’ve had plenty of room to move.
“We’ll make some strategic adjustments (to deal with Port’s run), but we’re going out to play our brand of footy. We know it stands up – we’ve just got to bring it to life.”
Fremantle will be without injured defenders Zac Dawson and Alex Silvagni, while tagger Ryan Crowley is unavailable while he serves a provisional suspension for doping.
Crowley’s absence is a particular blow to Fremantle as they attempt to halt the influence of star Power midfielder Travis Boak.
Boak was restricted to 16 possessions by Crowley in Port Adelaide’s semi-final win last year – well down on his season average of 27 disposals.
Clancee Pearce appears the frontrunner to take over Fremantle’s tagging role, and he faces a tough job first-up if he’s asked to man Boak.
“I know he’s a pretty special player and he was a great person in the International Rules series,” Lyon said of Boak.
“But he’ll be the enemy come Sunday.
“We’ll get goal side of him, check him, make sure he’s made to be accountable and attack him at the right time.”
Former Essendon ruckman Paddy Ryder will make his Power debut in Sunday’s match, while Jackson Trengove (shoulder), Hamish Hartlett (groin), and Chad Wingard (knee) all return from injury.
The Dockers decided against playing Tendai Mzungu, who injured his hamstring last month.
But goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne (calf) and utility Nick Suban (hamstring) return to bolster the side.
Port Adelaide kicked Fremantle out of last year’s finals race, and the Dockers will be keen to gain a slice of revenge on Sunday.