Why Dockers are avoiding underdog talk ahead of Swans showdown

The Dockers are heading into their upcoming match against the Swans with a renewed sense of confidence following a strong victory.

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir believes his team has regrouped after publicly criticizing certain players for prioritizing personal statistics in the aftermath of their 67-point defeat to the Western Bulldogs two weeks ago.

The Dockers responded strongly last week with a commanding performance, particularly excelling in the first three quarters to secure a 20-point victory over fellow finals contender Gold Coast.

Fremantle’s key midfield players, including Andrew Brayshaw, Caleb Serong, and Hayden Young, all made significant contributions on the scoreboard in influential displays.

This week, they face a tougher challenge against Sydney’s formidable midfield lineup featuring Chad Warner, Isaac Heeney, Errol Gulden, and James Rowbottom.

Reflecting on his earlier remarks about some players prioritizing personal statistics against the Bulldogs, Longmuir remarked, “It might have been a slight critique aimed at the midfielders… but I don’t think it was a major statement.”

“I sense that we’ve reestablished our focus, and I believe the team gained a lot of confidence from our performance over the weekend, as well as from our consistent efforts throughout the year. We’re confident that by prioritizing the right aspects and executing our gameplan effectively, we can compete with any opponent.”

Sydney (13-1) leads the ladder by three games after an impressive 10-match winning streak.

Meanwhile, Fremantle (8-5-1) sits in fifth place. However, their chances against Sydney took a significant hit with the confirmation that captain Alex Pearce will be sidelined for three to four weeks due to a fractured left forearm.

Nonetheless, Fremantle is eager to make a strong statement against the league’s top team.

“I haven’t emphasized us being underdogs. I think that sends a message that we’re inferior,” Longmuir commented.

“We’re heading there with confidence and belief.”

“It’s going to be crucial for us to play one of our most cohesive games of the year.

“Our best football is played when we operate as a united team, all 18 or 22 players contributing. That’s what we’ll need this week; we’re not depending on any single individual.

“While Pearce has been a key player for us, we’ll find someone to step up and we’ll head over there aiming for our strongest team performance across all four quarters.”

Brennan Cox made it through 60 minutes of action in the WAFL reserves last Saturday in his first match back from hamstring surgery.

Longmuir won’t risk Cox against the Swans, with the 25-year-old instead to play a full game in the WAFL seniors.

It means first-year defender Josh Draper is likely to earn a recall to partner last week’s debutant Hugh Davies.

“As tempting as it is (to recall him against Sydney) … it’s just not the right thing,” Longmuir said of Cox.

“It might be the right thing for this week, but it might not be the right thing for his long term, which is more important.”


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