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A BAD BET by William from West Perth


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A BAD BET by William from West Perth

In days of yore it would have been an inviting prospect for a Melbourne team visiting these parts to come across a Fremantle side bereft of players of the quality of (in alphabetical order) Kepler Bradley, Hayden Crozier, Max Duffy, Jonathon Griffin, Stephen Hill, Sam Menegola, Craig Moller, Anthony Morabito, Lachie Neale, Matthew Pavlich, Aaron Sandilands and Michael Walters.

However, in this new modern age, the Dockers have sufficient depth to overcome the shell-shocked Demons even without the aforementioned players and with competition strong for one of those coveted top four spots at the end of the year, they are hardly likely to let slip a game in which they are considered such certainties that Sportsbet is offering their backers a mere 1 cent per dollar invested. The punters over here might well be bemoaning the end of the minerals boom but those odds won't generate much interest.

Melbourne has its own injury woes and whilst not as significant in numbers, they are in terms of player depth but they still don't match those of Fremantle who have managed to cover their losses well. Their players are keen and willing to give their all for the cause and do so week in, week out. They are particularly strong at home where they have beaten all comers in recent times with the exception of Essendon who fell into a win over there when they were going great guns earlier in the season before their own magic formula started to wear off.

The area where Melbourne might be expected to hold the ascendency is in the ruck duels where Mark Jamar goes into the game knowing that he doesn't have to face a barrage from the usual brigade of giants headed by Aaron Sandilands. His likely opponent is Jack Hannath, who the Demons had earmarked as his understudy only to be plucked away by the Dockers through last years pre-season draft.

Some say that Freo took Hannath purely in revenge for the Mitch Clark heist a year earlier but that isn't stopping them from eyeing Jack Watts who should come back for this game after a month out with injury. In that case, the former number one draft pick will need to produce something out of the box to impress his suitors. I don't think Jack has been quite right this season (even before his injury). Sunday afternoon is his opportunity to show his wares.

There are plenty of others who also need to produce some effort for their success starved supporters out west. We haven't seen a win here since Brock McLean was a loyal young and enthusiastic Demon in his first season and we know those days are long gone. And we don't just want the team to be competitive, we want them striving for a win and giving their opponents more than the slight heart flutter they handed the Tigers last week.

The problem as I see it is that the ground on which this game will be played requires run and effort because of its extra length. Melbourne, with its weak midfield is unlikely to sustain a long, hard day under the pressure that Fremantle can and will exert. If pressed for a tip, my bet is therefore:

Fremantle by 42 points

THE GAME Fremantle v Melbourne at Patersons Stadium, Sunday 26 May, 2013 at 4.40pm (AEST)

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Fremantle 16 wins Melbourne 13 wins

Patersons Stadium Fremantle 9 wins Melbourne 3 wins

Since 2000 Fremantle 12 wins Melbourne 9 wins

The Coaches Lyon 2 wins Neeld 0 wins

MEDIA

TV Fox Footy Channel (live at 4.30pm AEST)

RADIO SEN, ABC

THE BETTING

Fremantle $1.01 Melbourne $17.00

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Fremantle 14.17.101 defeated Melbourne 5.10.40 Round 23, 2012 at Paterson Stadium

Melbourne has not beaten Fremantle in Perth since 2004 and on this evening, it never looked like breaking the curse of Subiaco. The Demons were horrible as the Dockers cantered into the finals.

THE TEAMS

FREMANTLE

Backs Lee Spurr Zac Dawson Michael Johnson

Half back Garrick Ibbotson Luke McPharlin Alex Silvagni

Centreline Cameron Sutcliffe Ryan Crowley Chris Duffield

Half forwards Michael Barlow Chris Mayne Nathan Fyfe

Forwards Matt de Boer Zachary Clarke Hayden Ballantyne

Followers Jack Hannath David Mundy Danyle Pearce

Interchange Hayden Crozier Tendai Mzungu Clancee Pearce Nick Suban

Emergencies Viv Michie Josh Simpson Matt Taberner

In Hayden Crozier

Out Michael Walters (ankle)

MELBOURNE

Backs Lynden Dunn James Frawley Dean Terlich

Half backs Jack Watts James Sellar Colin Garland

Centreline Jack Trengove Michael Evans Matt Jones

Half forwards Luke Tapscott Jeremy Howe Neville Jetta

Forwards Max Gawn Chris Dawes Aaron Davey

Followers Mark Jamar Nathan Jones James Magner

Interchange Rohan Bail Shannon Byrnes Jordie McKenzie Daniel Nicholson

Emergencies Tom Gillies Jake Spencer James Strauss

In Shannon Byrnes Jack Watts

Out Jimmy Toumpas (ankle) James Strauss

THE YEAR SO FAR by Sam the Stats Man

I had hoped that by the time I came back from Melbourne's season in hell, things might be better but they're not. Injuries, poor form and controversy continue to haunt the club.

Here, is my look at the players statistically over the first eight rounds of 2013:-

BAIL, Rohan MFC 6 games, 4 goals, CFC Seniors 1 game, 2 goals - has been struggling to find form after issues with concussion both last year and during the pre-season.

BARRY, Dominic CFC Seniors 3 games, 2 goals, CFC DL 2 games, 2 goals - skilful but lightly built youngster in development phase at Casey.

BLEASE, Sam MFC 3 games, 0 goals, CFC Seniors 4 games, 1 goal - seems to struggle when he gets his chance at AFL level.

BYRNES, Shannon MFC 7 games, 5 goals - a handy small forward has had a couple of good days.

CLARK, Mitch MFC 4 games, 7 goals - tragedy hit when another foot injury put him out of action for at least two months.

CLISBY, Mitch * CFC Seniors 4 games 0 goals - running defender showing some promise at Casey.

COUCH, Tom * CFC Seniors 5 games, 4 goals - once again a ball magnet at Casey but possibly a little short on pace to make it to the big time.

DAVEY, Aaron MFC 6 games, 9 goals, CFC Seniors 1 game, 1 goal - patchy, but starting to show the form of old.

DAVIS, Troy CFC Seniors 4 games, 0 goals - pushing for his first game at AFL level.

DAWES, Chris MFC 2 games, 2 goals, CFC Seniors 2 games, 5 goals - hit by injury in the pre-season and has only just broken into the team.

DUNN, Lynden MFC 4 games, 3 goals, CFC Seniors 1 game, 2 goals - missed a few games with injury but has been handy since his return.

EVANS, Michael MFC 6 games, 5 goals, CFC Seniors 1 game, 1 goal - a most improved player since return after a long stint out with a back injury.

FRAWLEY, James MFC 8 games, 0 goals - has had a few good games interspersed with some poor ones.

GARLAND, Colin MFC 8 games, 1 goal - one of the shining lights in defence in recent weeks.

GAWN, Max MFC 5 games, 6 goals, CFC Seniors 2 games, 2 goals - the tall ruckman is learning his craft and showing lots of promise after a second knee reconstruction kept him out for all of 2012.

GILLIES, Tom MFC 2 games, 0 goals, CFC Seniors 3 games, 0 goals - struggling for form.

GRIMES, Jack MFC 6 games, 1 goal - was starting to come good as a team leader when he broke his collarbone against Carlton. On long term injury list.

HOGAN, Jesse ** CFC Seniors 5 games, 12 goals - good signs in his development year at the Scorpions.

HOWE, Jeremy MFC 8 games, 13 goals - doing more than just taking mark of the week every second week. Will benefit when Clark and Dawes are the regular key forwards.

JAMAR, Mark MFC 6 games, 2 goals - really missed in the ruck duels when out injured. Still needs to do a lot more around the ground.

JETTA, Neville MFC 3 games, 0 goals, CFC Seniors 1 game, 1 goal - was starting to show some form when an indiscretion led to suspension.

JONES, Matthew MFC 8 games, 1 goal one of the revelations of the season, Jones has regularly been in the best players.

JONES, Nathan MFC 8 game, 3 games deserved to gain the captaincy even though the circumstances were rather unusual. Heading for back to back best and fairests.

KENT, Dean MFC 2 games, 1 goal, CFC Seniors 4 games, 3 goals young, raw and probably introduced to the senior team a little early.

MACDONALD, Joel CFC Seniors 2 games, 0 goals - injured at the start of the season and unable to break into the side until now.

McDONALD, Tom MFC 5 games, 0 goals not at his best early in the season then missed a few weeks to injury.

MCKENZIE, Jordie MFC 5 games, 2 goals, CFC Seniors 1 game, 0 goals another whose season has been interrupted by injury and who has struggled to perform consistently.

MAGNER, James * MFC 1 game, 0 goals, CFC Seniors 5 games, 2 goals came off the rookie list last week after a string of high possession games and was immediately in the thick of things.

NICHOLSON, Daniel MFC 5 games, 1 goal, CFC Seniors 2 games, 0 goals - still struggles with poor execution.

PEDERSEN, Cameron MFC 4 games, 4 goals, CFC Seniors 2 games, 0 goals - picking up the pieces at Casey after a poor start at the club.

RODAN, David MFC 3 games, 1 goal, CFC Seniors 3 games, 5 goals - hasn't had the impact some expected from him.

SELLAR, James MFC 5 games, 1 goal, CFC Seniors 1 game, 0 goals - adequately fills a role whether placed up forward or down back.

SPENCER, Jake MFC 2 games, 0 games, CFC Seniors 4 games, 0 goals - struggled to impress in his two games with the Demons.

STARK, Nathan * CFC DL 1 game, 0 goals - restricted by injury to just one development league game.

STRAUSS, James MFC 3 games, 1 goal, CFC Seniors 4 games, 2 goals - working on developing his defensive side.

SYLVIA, Colin MFC 7 games, 6 goals - was showing some settled form before being outed for three weeks.

TAGGERT, Rory CFC Seniors 5 games, 5 goals. CFC DL 1 game, 1 goal - returning from a back injury and isn't likely to push up for AFL.

TAPSCOTT, Luke MFC 7 games, 3 goals, CFC Seniors 1 game, 6 goals - despite playing 7 on the trot, still yet to prove that he can establish a permanent place in the line up.

TERLICH, Dean MFC 7 games, 0 goals - like Matt Jones, this mature aged player has made a promising start to his career.

TOUMPAS, Jimmy MFC 4 games, 0 goals, CFC Seniors 2 games, 1 goal - another youngster struggling to adapt to the higher standard of the game and injuries aren't helping him.

TRENGOVE, Jack MFC 6 games, 3 goals - no pre-season to speak of and is doing it hard.

TYNAN, Josh CFC Seniors 4 games, 1 goal. CFC DL 2 games, 0 goals - struggling to hold a place at Casey in their seniors, so is still a long way back.

VINEY, Jack MFC 6 games, 1 goal - lively and goes in hard. On the sidelines with a toe injury that should keep him out for several weeks.

WATTS, Jack MFC 4 games, 2 goals - momentarily moved forward for 2 quick goals in the week before his injury. Although much maligned, he remains one of the team's best users of the football and is waiting for a break through game.

WESTRUPP, Maia ** CFC DL 1 game, 0 goals played his first game with the Casey development league team last weekend.

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