Hungry Dockers still chasing Hawks in AFL

Dockers midfielder Danyle Pearce says Hawthorn are still the team to chase despite Fremantle’s hot start to the AFL season.

Fremantle have leapfrogged Hawthorn and Sydney into premiership favouritism after opening their year with eight straight wins.

Hawthorn are winners of the past two premierships, but are currently lagging in seventh spot with a 4-4 record.

Sydney (6-2) are well placed to lock down a top-two berth, but they are still two games and percentage adrift of the Dockers.

Fremantle will be aiming to make it nine straight wins when they take on the Crows in Saturday night’s clash at Adelaide Oval.

Pearce said Fremantle’s hunger remains as strong as ever despite their comfortable gap at the top of the table.

“Hawthorn are the back-to-back premiers. They’re the ones everyone’s chasing,” Pearce said.

“We can’t put our hand up and say we’ve done anything.

“We’re still hunting ourselves. That’s where the hunger is.

“We’re striving like 17 other teams to win a premiership.”

Fremantle boosted their football work by around 40 per cent during the pre-season, according to coach Ross Lyon.

Pearce said the willingness of players to train on Saturdays during the summer had paid massive dividends.

“Watching the Sydney and Hawthorn game over the weekend, it shows any game can go down to the last minute,” Pearce said.

“Just to know you have that fitness and running under your belt, it gives you the belief that no matter how long the game goes or how tight it is going to be, (at) 120 minutes you are still going to be as good as you are at the start.”

Pearce said the trust among the player group had also played a key role in the team’s stunning form.

“We have the confidence in each other,” Pearce said.

“I can look at any man alongside me and they can look at me and know that we are going to do the job we need to do – put our head over the ball and go backward with the flight.

“And that’s the one thing I can say about us at the moment, there is that trust and desire to get better and improve.

“The guy behind me will put his body on the line, and I will do the same.”

Pearce has been in career-best form this season, with the former Power star averaging 23 possessions a game to go with his seven goals.

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