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Aussie Rules: Fremantle Dockers in need of a lift

The whole of the AFL has descended on South Australia for The Gather Round and the action continues on Friday with Fremantle against Gold Coast and Richmond taking on Sydney.

The round began on Thursday evening when the Adelaide Crows showed they could have what it takes to make the eight with a convincing win over Carlton.

Carlton may have top-four aspirations, but they were blitzed by 56 points at a packed Adelaide Oval.

Now the action turns to Friday and the first game on the schedule sees Fremantle Dockers up against Gold Coast Suns. Both sides have just one win so far this season and will be desperate to record a second.

In the late game, the Richmond Tigers and Sydney Swans go head-to-head. It has been a disappointing start to the season for the Tigers, while the Swans are also below where they want to be.

Poor starts hamper top-eight hopes

WhatFremantle Dockers v Gold Coast Suns
WhereNorwood Oval, SA
When17:10 (AEST) Friday 14th April
How to watchChannel 7, Foxtel, Kayo
OddsFremantle 1.60, Gold Coast 2.35

Fremantle have been disappointing to say the least in the opening four games of the season and find themselves down in 14th spot with just one win.

That victory came against an injury-ravaged West Coast Eagles side in round three and they are a shadow of the team who made a semi-final in 2022.

A lack of firepower up top appears to be one of Fremantle’s issues and they need to put that right sooner rather than later if they are to play finals for the second year running.

The Suns also find themselves in a similar position. They may not have headed into the season with the same level of expectation as Fremantle, but they will be disappointed nonetheless.

Gold Coast were hoping to push closer to the top eight, maybe even break into it, but one win in four has not helped their cause.

That win did come against Geelong in round three, but they came crashing back down to earth with a 53-point loss against St Kilda last week.

The pressure will be mounting on coach Stuart Dew and they are in need of a boost against the Dockers at Norwood Oval.

Both Dew and Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir have made changes in the hope of getting the response they are after.

Mabior Chol returns for the Suns after playing three games in the VFL, while Brandon Ellis and Sean Lemmens have recovered from injury and make their first appearances of the season. Levi Casboult is rested.

For Fremantle, they welcome back Michael Frederick and Sam Sturt, with Liam Henry and Nathan Wilson making way.

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Injuries hurting struggling duo

WhatRichmond Tigers v Sydney Swans
WhereAdelaide Oval, SA
When20:10 (AEST) Friday 14th April
How to watchChannel 7, Foxtel, Kayo
OddsRichmond 2.30, Sydney 1.62

Richmond and Sydney both have hopes of challenging for the flag in 2023, but will need to raise their game if they are to do so.

The Tigers were tipped to return to the top this season - but have just one win so far. That came against Adelaide in round two, but a draw with Carlton and defeats to Collingwood and the Bulldogs mean they are off the pace.

Coach Damien Hardwick will not be reaching for the panic button just yet, but the Tigers need to get on a run - starting against the Swans.

With a clash against Melbourne to come, these are two big games for the Tigers.

They have not been helped by the fact that gun forward Tom Lynch is facing a spell on the sidelines through injury. Toby Nankervis is also missing, but Hardwick is able to get some height back into his forward line.

Jack Riewoldt and Ben Miller both return to face the Swans.

The Swans’ chances of picking up a win have been hit by a devastating injury list that has ripped through their squad.

Dane Rampe has been added to a growing injury list as he suffers from neck soreness. Tom and Paddy McCartin are both missing with concussion, while gun forward Lance Franklin is out with a knee injury.

Aaron Francis also looks set to miss out after picking up an injury in training, joining long-term injury victim Sam Reid in the treatment room.

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