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Dangerfield could swing midfield battle Crows' way

Alex Malcolm  May 30, 2013 5:22 PM

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Patrick Dangerfield has been in matchwinning form for the Crows this year.

It's going to be a really good battle and we are going to find out where we're at
FREMANTLE'S clash with the Crows on Saturday afternoon at AAMI Stadium will be won or lost in the midfield according to Ross Lyon.

The Dockers coach believes the sides are very evenly matched and the team that wins the battle in the centre of the ground will walk away with the four points.

"They've got a strong midfield,” Lyon said prior to boarding a flight to Adelaide.  

“We think we have as well. Whichever midfield gets on top for the longest, will give their forwards the most opportunity and protect their defence.

"It's going to be a really good battle and we are going to find out where we're at."

Lyon identified Crow star Patrick Dangerfield as a major threat to the Dockers.

Dangerfield has averaged 23 disposals across nine games this year and has kicked 13 goals.

Lyon suggested he could send a tag to the 23-year-old as they did in the semi-final last year when Dangerfield collected just 18 possessions and a goal.

"Yeah, we sort of tagged him last year. He's a star player - contested ball winner, line-breaking.

"The whole team will have to take account for Patrick.

"He's explosive if he gets that goal side, a bit like (Brett) Deledio.

"He's at the forefront of our planning."

Fremantle lost all three encounters to Adelaide last season, including the heart-breaking 10-point loss in the semi-final that ended the Dockers season.

Lyon said his team has learnt some valuable lessons from looking back at that finals defeat.

"We started really well. Our inability (was being able) to go hard enough for long enough and take our opportunities, which we did have.

"The real lesson is if you relax, and you don't play every moment, good teams get over the top of you, and that's what they did."

Lyon believes this clash will say a lot about where Fremantle are at in the context of the season.

"At the end of the day, if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.

"So we see them as a quality team.

"But it's critical to keep your momentum, and keep trying to bank four points.

"Both of us will be desperate to do that, and it sets up a good clash."

Star midfielder Stephen Hill travelled with the squad of 25 to Adelaide, having not played since round five due to a persistent quad injury.