WHERE AND WHEN: Optus Stadium, Saturday August 3, 2.35pm (AWST)
HISTORY: The Cats have come up trumps in the past three contests between the two sides, with the most recent meeting resulting in a 133-point hammering – the largest defeat in Fremantle’s history.
SUMMARY: The Dockers are a mathematical chance to play finals, but it’s not a realistic hope given that Ross Lyon’s team has lost five of its past six games. After some shaky form, Geelong consolidated their place at the top of the table with a solid 27-point win over Sydney. Given their excellent percentage of 135.66, two more wins should be enough for Chris Scott’s side to claim the minor premiership.
KEY PLAYERS: Brandon Matera (Fremantle)
After a strong start to the season, Matera has struggled to impact the scoreboard in recent times with the 27-year-old managing just three goals from his past five outings. With Matt Taberner, Jesse Hogan and Rory Lobb all sidelined by injury, the Dockers will need Matera to improve his output otherwise they will struggle to register a winning score.
Tom Hawkins (Geelong)
Hawkins monstered the Swans, snaring five goals to move to within 10 of Coleman medal leader Jeremy Cameron (57). Not only has Hawkins been a consistent goalkicker in 2019, he also ranks second in the AFL for total goal assists. Joel Hamling will be assigned the task of curbing Hawkins’ impact and will need to be at the top of his game for the full four quarters given the star Cat’s ability to influence the contest in a multitude of ways.
Ed Langdon (Fremantle)
You know what you’re going to get out of the likes of superstar skipper Nathan Fyfe and evergreen veteran David Mundy, but its often the output from second-tier players such as Langdon that can prove to be the difference between winning and losing. Fremantle were killed on the spread by the Western Bulldogs last-start, and Lyon will be looking for a lift in intensity from line-breakers such as Langdon otherwise it will be more of the same in this one.
Tim Kelly (Geelong)
Kelly was at the heart of Geelong’s thumping win over Fremantle last year, gathering 26 possessions to go with three goals, five clearances and seven inside 50s in a display that earned him the three Brownlow medal votes. Back in his home state for the first time since his unsuccessful bid to get traded to West Coast, Kelly will be keen to put on a show. Strong at the coalface and an elite decision-maker, Kelly will need to be negated if Fremantle are to make this a tight contest. Expect Darcy Tucker to be assigned the task of ensuring that Kelly’s impact is minimal.
PREDICTION: While Fremantle have struggled to put points on the board of late, averaging just 50.5 points across the past month, Geelong have options aplenty inside 50 and should post a relatively comfortable win. Cats by 34 points.