We won’t be Buddy’s slave, vow Dockers

Fremantle hope their powerful midfield will help the team avoid becoming Lance Franklin’s “slave” in Saturday night’s AFL blockbuster in Perth.

Franklin looms as a key figure for the Swans as they attempt to extend their unbeaten streak to four games.

The 28-year-old booted 5.5 in last week’s win over GWS, but Fremantle are determined to limit his opportunities at the long and narrow Domain Stadium.

Fremantle possess one of the best midfields in the competition, with Nat Fyfe, Stephen Hill, Danyle Pearce, David Mundy, Michael Barlow and Lachie Neale all in hot form.

The Swans also possess a mountain of match-winners in the form of Josh Kennedy, Dan Hannebery, Kieren Jack, Jarrad McVeigh and Luke Parker.

Depending on where Franklin roams, Dockers duo Luke McPharlin and Michael Johnson will be entrusted with keeping the star forward under wraps.

But Dockers coach Ross Lyon said it will be the midfield battle which will ultimately decide whether Franklin gets off the leash.

“The focus is going to be on clean or dirty ball in,” Lyon said.

“We can’t put a chain on him and just keep him in certain parts of the ground.

“We just have to defend him at the right time and not be a total slave, and try and attack him at the right time.

“It’s going to be won and lost in the midfield.

“Whoever gives their forwards best supply will probably come out on top.”

The premiership hopes of both Fremantle and Sydney are already being talked up following their hot early-season form.

But Lyon isn’t getting carried away by the hype.

“There’s a lot been written, but at the end of the day, each team has only won three games. It’s not like we’re coming in 13-0 each,” Lyon said.

The Dockers are confident Michael Walters will be fit to face the Swans, despite the small forward rolling his ankle in Sunday’s derby win over West Coast.

Sydney will welcome back All-Australian defender Nick Smith from a groin injury.

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