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  • Podcast: Mid-Season Review 2022  

  • Podcast: Mid-Season Review 2022  

DISMANTLE by The Oracle



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The Flagmantle dynasty has been in train for less than half a season but on Saturday evening at the MCG its hopes are set to be derailed when it meets the team from Narrm.

If you’re still living back in the days before the start of the 2022 AFL season then my opening comment probably makes very little sense. This is because very few people had heard of Narrm at the time and most folk could not then have anticipated the AFL’s early season rise of the Fremantle Dockers whose fans went into raptures after a string of victories across the continent — each one of them achieved without their superstar hero, dual Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe. That’s where the Flagmantle tag became a thing.

Suddenly however, the Freo wheels have become shaky and loose following consecutive upset losses to Gold Coast (12th) and Collingwood (10th) in wet conditions across the country. Next up is a trip to football’s heartland to play against Narrm which has never lost an AFL match in its entire (albeit very short) existence and therein lies the Dockers’ dilemma.

Just when the going is starting to get tough and they need a win to bolster their claims for a top four spot, they run into football’s immovable object coming of a six day break after a game on a rain soaked stadium and having to travel across the country. And not only is Narrmy Army is waiting for them but the Weather Bureau is predicting a 50% chance of rain. I’m tipping that means a 100% chance of defeat at the hands of a team that’s hungry to double the number of its all-time wins in that classy Indigenous guernsey.

The thing is that while the time-worn line about not judging books by their covers is very much to the point, underneath those magnificent red and blue colours lie the true hearts of a team with an eye on the big prize at the end of the season. On their way, they have to take care of contenders like Fremantle and a win in this game will return a favour owed to this club for two years since they put paid to the Demons’ finals aspirations in the far north of the country.

A far more mature and composed outfit awaits the Dockers this week. They carry the real mantle of football strength with winners on every line beginning with its midfield which, even when not at full strength has decimated all comers this year. When Saint ruckman Paddy Ryder was interviewed this week and asked who were the competition’s best exponents of ruck skills, he didn’t hesitate to name Narrm’s duo of Max Gawn and Luke Jackson ahead of himself. He could easily have mentioned Freo’s Sean Darcy who is very good but, even if he has a big day out, the Demons will be too good at the stoppages for the flagging Dockers.

Fremantle has been mentioned as having a defence that’s almost the equal of that of Narrm but the reality is that it’s attack is struggling at the moment and, just when they are lacking form and confidence, they come up against May, Lever, Petty and their hardy team of assistants at ground level. On top of that, while the media seems obsessed with key forwards kicking bags, the Demon attack doesn’t rely on one individual to get it out of trouble — every one of its forwards is dangerous and capable of kicking goals on any given day.

All of this spells a train wreck to end Flagmantle’s aspirations for greatness. Narrm by 25 points.

THE GAME

Melbourne v Fremantle on Saturday 28 May 2022 at 4.35pm.

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Melbourne 17 wins Fremantle 23 wins 

At the MCG Melbourne 9 wins Fremantle 7 wins 

Last five meetings Melbourne 3 wins Fremantle 2 wins

The Coaches Goodwin 1 win Longmuir 1 win

MEDIA

TV live and on demand on Kayo and live on Foxtel

Radio - check your local guides

LAST TIME THEY MET

Melbourne 11.14.80 defeated Fremantle 8.10.58 at The MCG, Round 1, 2021

The Demons kicked off the 2021 season with a solid victory over the Dockers at the G, leading throughout after a short early arm wrestle. Oliver, McDonald and May were the best.

THE TEAMS

NARRM

B: J.Bowey 17 S.May 1 T.Rivers 24
HB: J.Jordon 23 J.Lever 8 J. Hunt 29
C: A.Brayshaw 10 J.Viney 7 T.Sparrow 32
HF: B.Fritsch 31 L.Jackson 6 C.Spargo 9
F: A.Neal-Bullen 30 B.Brown 50 K.Pickett 36
Foll: M.Gawn 11 C.Oliver 13 C.Petracca 5
I/C: T.Bedford 12 J.Melksham 18  S.Weideman 26 H.Petty 35
Sub: L.Dunstan 27 Emerg: M.Brown 38 B.Laurie 16 A.Tomlinson 20

In: J.Viney S.Weideman

Out: T.McDonald (ankle) E.Langdon (ribs)

FREMANTLE

B: H. Young 26 A. Pearce 25 G.Logue 2
HB: B. Cox 36 L. Ryan 13 J. Aish 11
C: B. Acres 9 A.Brayshaw 8 J.Clark 6
HF: M.Frederick 32 M. Taberner 20 T .Colyer 33
F: M.Walters 10 R.Lobb 37 L. Schultz 28
Foll: S. Darcy 4 W.Brodie 17 C. Serong 3
I/C: H. Chapman 27 D. Mundy 16 D.Tucker 18 B.Walker 31
Sub: B. Banfield 41 Emerg: N.Erasmus 28 E.Hughes 15 S.Sturt 1

In: D.Tucker B.Walker

Out: N.Erasmus S.Switkowski (suspended)

Injury and Suspension List: Round 11

Michael Hibberd - Calf | Test
Ed Langdon - Ribs | Test
Jack Viney - Hamstring | Test           
Kade Chandler - Suspension | 1 Week
Christian Salem - Knee | 1 Week
James Harmes - Hamstring | 1-2 Weeks
Joel Smith - Ankle | 6-7 Weeks
Blake Howes - Foot | 7-9 Weeks

PreviewRd112022.png

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