Round 11 teams: Fremantle Dockers’ underperforming forwards get one more chance against Melbourne

Headshot of Mark Duffield
Mark DuffieldThe West Australian
Brandon Walker is back for Freo.
Camera IconBrandon Walker is back for Freo. Credit: Ian Munro/The West Australian

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir has opted for stability over revolution, making just one non-forced change to the team to face the all-conquering Demons at the MCG on Saturday.

With pressure forward Sam Switkowski unavailable due to suspension, only one player - Bailey Banfield - has paid the price of his place in the team in an attack that has kicked just 10 goals in its last two games, albeit in matches played in wet conditions.

Longmuir had hinted he would look to stabilise his team after a series of weeks when health and safety protocols and a couple of injuries had meant a high turnover of players for the Dockers.

The Dockers have brought back midfielder Darcy Tucker, who had 28 disposals for Peel in their loss to South Fremantle, and Brandon Walker, whose dash and speed off half-back has been missed in recent weeks.

“I think our players have a clear understanding now of what our best footy is and how each of them can contribute to it,” Longmuir said.

Matt Taberner went goalless against Collingwood.
Camera IconMatt Taberner went goalless against Collingwood. Credit: Daniel Carson/AFL Photos

Longmuir had predicted that he would probably look to use another forward to replace Switkowski’s role in the Dockers preferred structure.

“We probably picked an extra forward last week anyway so we will probably try to get one of those forwards up to fill his role,” he said.

“I think there have been a number of factors over the last couple of weeks that haven’t helped. If you look at the number of ins and outs that we have had over the last three weeks it has probably led to a bit of an unsettled team and the guys that have missed through COVID probably haven’t come back into the sort of form that they would have liked and we have just had so much disruption to our forward line.

“We need to just settle our team down again, get some continuity and get our form back first and foremost.

“All we can do is look forward and try to regain the cohesion we had prior to the last couple of weeks.”

Banfield, 24, would have played his 49th game this weekend and has been in the squad of 23 for all ten of the Dockers games this year, with two as medi sub.

He was goalless off eight disposals against Collingwood. Travis Colyer was goalless off 13 and Michael Frederick goalless off 9 touches, meaning the choice of who to leave out was almost certainly a close-run decision.

DEMONS

B: J Bowey S May T Rivers

HB: J Jordon J Lever J Hunt

C: A Brayshaw J Viney T Sparrow

HF: B Fritsch L Jackson C Spargo

F: A Neal-Bullen B Brown K Pickett

FOLL: M Gawn C Oliver C Petracca

I/C: T Bedford J Melksham T McDonald H Petty

EMG: B Laurie A Tomlinson S Weideman L Dunstan

IN: J VIney

OUT: L Dunstan (omitted) E Langdon (injured)

DOCKERS

B: H Young A Pearce G Logue

HB: B Cox L Ryan J Aish

C: B Acres A Brayshaw J Clark

HF: M Frederick M Taberner T Colyer

F: M Walters R Lobb L Schultz

FOLL: S Darcy W Brodie C Serong

I/C: D Mundy D Tucker H Chapman B Walker

EMG: N Erasmus S Sturt E Hughes B Banfield

IN: D Tucker B Walker

OUT: S Switkowski (suspended) B Banfield (omitted) N Erasmus (medi-sub)

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