First-quarter flop no concern for Dockers

Fremantle will be aiming to make amends for one giant anomaly when they take on Richmond in Saturday’s clash at the MCG.

The Dockers have built a reputation as being the AFL’s first-quarter masters this season.

Not only are they averaging a league-high 25 points for the first term, but they’re also averaging a league-stingiest 17 points against.

That record would have been even more impressive if not for their shock 27-point loss to Richmond in round 10.

In that game, the Tigers piled on eight goals to one inside the opening 20 minutes to set up a 49-19 advantage by quarter time.

The Dockers have struggled to regain their mojo ever since, with their 72-point loss to Hawthorn a fortnight ago highlighting their drop-off in form.

Despite that loss, Fremantle remain one win clear on top of the table, giving them an excellent chance to finish in the top two.

Lyon said his team learned valuable lessons from their first-quarter walloping at the hands of Richmond, and were keen to make amends.

“I’ve watched it. We take notes,” Lyon said.

“We store it on the Apple Mac – we bring it up.

“There were a couple of simple things that they did.

“Clearly they were very good. They’re bordering on being a great team, Richmond.

“Their midfield’s elite – they’ve got (Trent) Cotchin and (Brett) Deledio and (Dustin) Martin, who was the best player on the ground (back in round 10).

“And they’ve got some really good forwards.”

The Dockers suffered a huge blow earlier this week when it was revealed star goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne would miss at least seven games with a torn pectoral.

Clancee Pearce won a recall to replace Ballantyne, while star midfielder Nat Fyfe has also been named despite his ongoing struggles with a corked thigh.

Richmond are eyeing off a spot in the top four after cobbling together eight wins from their past nine games.

The Tigers face Hawthorn next week, with the tricky fortnight giving them a good indication of their flag credentials.

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