Demons coach Simon Goodwin had nothing but praise for the Dockers on Tuesday, believing their team defence in the two side’s clash earlier in the year was the decisive factor in his team’s loss.
The Demons came into their match with the Dockers in round 11 undefeated, before a resounding 12 to one goal second half saw the Dockers give them their first loss.
The game started a streak of three losses in a row for Goodwin, who admits that the Dockers had their number on the day thanks to the flawless execution of their style.
“We took a lot from those three losses in succession and Fremantle was one of those.” said Goodwin to the media on Tuesday morning.
“Their team defence was something that was really strong on the day and we had a lot of trouble breaking that.
“We’ve made some adjustments in how we play in the last five weeks that we think we’re making some sort of progression on to be able to deal with these types of teams and we feel like we’re trending in the right direction.
“They certainly got the game looking like a Fremantle game for a long period of time in that second half especially and their team defence is really solid.
“We think we’re better positioned to take them on over there in Perth and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
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The Dockers defending has been ranked elite all season, ranking last in points against in the competition this season, thanks to the career-best form of the likes of defender Brennan Cox and utility Griffin Logue.
Cox is averaging 5.9 spoils this season, well up on his career average of 4.2, while Logue has lost only 9.7% of his contested defensive one-on-one’s, the best amongst key defenders with more than two matches in 2022.
Round 11 saw both Ben Brown and Sam Weideman go goalless, as the Dockers snuffed out most of the aerial attacks to the tall forwards.
Around the ground, the Dockers rank fourth in least inside 50’s conceded per game, along with ranking in the top eight in tackles per game.
One of the Brownlow medal favourites in Andrew Brayshaw sits sixth in total tackles this season amongst all players, while forward Lachie Schultz is equal second in most tackles inside 50.
In the upcoming clash, the Demons will be without their third leading goal-kicker in Brown, as he still tries to recover from knee soreness that saw him miss last week’s clash against the Dogs.
“Unfortunately, Ben won’t play.”
“He’s still a little bit sore in that knee and obviously with the short turnaround we want to really set him up in a position where he can play his best footy for the remainder of the year.
“We’re really hopeful he’ll be back the week after.”
This will leave Weideman and leading goal-kicker Bayley Fritsch to break through the stoic Fremantle, as they attempt to right the ship after winning just three games in their last eight matches.
They will be boosted by the return of Jake Lever, while the Dockers may be missing two-time Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe, after he was subbed out with a hamstring injury on Friday night.
The Demons and Dockers battle it out on Friday night at Optus Stadium, starting at 6:10 local time.
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