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Aussie Rules: Home success would boost Fremantle

Friday night football returns to the west with Fremantle in search of a much-needed when they take on the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium.

Big things were expected of the Dockers after they played a semi-final in 2022, but the start of the season has not gone according to plan.

They sit in 11th spot on the ladder with two wins from the opening five games and are not where they want to be.

The Bulldogs are also 2-3, but it could have been worse after they lost the opening two games of the season.

It is a huge match for the two sides, who have set their sights on playing finals football this season, so there is a lot on the line at Optus Stadium.

There will also be a little added spice to the game with former Fremantle forward Rory Lobb returning to Perth as a Bulldog following his off-season move.

It could be argued that Freo have missed his presence in the forward line and it is another interesting sub-plot to this fixture.

WhatFremantle v Western Bulldogs
WhereOptus Stadium, Perth
When20:10 (AEST), Friday 21st April 2023
How to watchChannel 7, Foxtel, Kayo
OddsFremantle 1.80, Western Bulldogs 2.02

Dockers target back-to-back wins

Fremantle have had a disappointing start to the season, but it looked like getting a lot worse as they trailed to the Gold Coast in the Gather Round last week.

However, they managed to fight back and beat the Suns 100-90 at the Norwood Oval in Adelaide, much to the relief of everyone connected to the club.

The defeat against Adelaide the week before does not look quite as bad now considering the Crows are one of the top teams in the AFL on current form.

However, Fremantle have dipped below the standards they set last season and need to back up the Suns win with another against the Bulldogs.

They have played just two games at Optus this season, losing by a point to North Melbourne and then beating West Coast Eagles 108-67 in the derby.

Optus was a fortress last season and needs to be again if the Dockers are to make finals.

They will also need to avoid making a slow start. It has been an unwanted trait in the opening five games of the season and they will want to start strongly against the Bulldogs - with the hosts 1.82 to win the 1st quarter.

Fremantle will be missing Sam Switkowski for the next couple of games after he suffered a calf injury, so coach Justin Longmuir is weighing up his options.

One of them is playing Lachie Schultz in midfield, with the forward putting his hand up to switch roles for a couple of games.

Related Aussie Rules News

Aussie Rules: Talking points from week five

Aussie Rules: Takeaways from week four

Bulldogs aim to bounce back

The Bulldogs have bad memories of their last trip to Optus to take on Fremantle as they squandered a big lead in the elimination final.

Luke Beveridge’s side were leading by 41 points at one stage, but Fremantle managed to fight back and win by 13.

That kind of form carried on into the new season with back-to-back defeats, but the Bulldogs then picked up big wins against Brisbane and Richmond to get back on track.

They slipped to a 14-point defeat against Port Adelaide last week and will be determined to bounce back in the west.

Star midfielder Marcus Bontempelli will again be key for the Bulldogs. He was a revelation in that elimination final defeat, and the Dockers could even employ a tag to try and keep him quiet.

The Dogs will however be missing another gun midfielder in the form of Bailey Smith, who is still struggling with a calf injury.

There is some good news though as key defender Alex Keath will return against the Dockers after missing the Gather Round with concussion.

Keath will come into the side to replace Josh Bruce, who is facing a spell on the sidelines with a rib injury.

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