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Match preview: Fremantle v Gold Coast

Alex Malcolm  March 29, 2016 5:30 PM

Pick a Winner: Frem v GC Duck and Browny preview the Dockers v Suns

This is a huge game for both clubs. Fremantle has been stung by a heavy defeat in round one at the hands of the Western Bulldogs while Gold Coast is trying to establish itself as a finals contender. The Dockers have made Domain Stadium a fortress under Ross Lyon and the Suns have never won at the venue but this week looms as their best chance. Two of the game's best players will be on display. Gary Ablett returned last week and immediately sounded a warning to the competition with a trademark display against the Bombers. Nat Fyfe has arguably the competition's benchmark midfielder but is coming off a quiet round one performance by his lofty standards. Aaron Sandilands is a key inclusion for the Dockers. 

WHERE AND WHEN: Domain Stadium, Saturday, April 2, 4.40pm AWST

TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

R11, 2015, Fremantle 6.17 (53) d Gold Coast 7.4 (46) at Metricon Stadium
R2, 2014, Fremantle 12.15 (87) d Gold Coast 5.9 (39) at Domain Stadium
R6, 2013, Fremantle 15.9 (99) d Gold Coast 7.12 (54) at Metricon Stadium
R6, 2012, Fremantle 14.10 (94) d Gold Coast 14.3 (87) at Metricon Stadium
R15, 2011, Fremantle 17.10 (112) d Gold Coast 9.8 (62) at Domain Stadium

Hayden Ballantyne will be hoping to find his 2014 All Australian form. Picture: AFL Media

1. Nat Fyfe was the difference between the sides in heavy conditions in 2015, gathering 31 disposals, two goals and the three Brownlow votes. Aaron Sandilands dominated with a club record 70 hit-outs.

2. The Dockers' final score of 5.8 (38) in round one was their second lowest score under Ross Lyon, narrowly beating 5.6 (36) early in his first season in 2012. 

3. Gold Coast has never won at Domain Stadium. The Suns have played seven matches for seven losses with two defeats by more than 70 points.

4. The Suns dominated Essendon in round one. They had 65 more disposals, 31 more tackles, 21 more scoring shots and 26 more inside 50s. They also won the clearances 37-25.

5. The Dockers have not lost their opening two games of a season since 2009. Ross Lyon has never lost the first two games of a season as a senior coach with either St Kilda or Fremantle.

6. There are 57 spots between Nat Fyfe (1st) and Gary Ablett (58th) on the Schick AFL Player Ratings. Ablett held the coveted No.1 spot between 2012 and round five 2015.

Hayden Ballantyne. He was an All Australian in 2014 with 49 goals for the season but he's kicked just 15 goals in 16 games since and did not kick a major with his nine touches in round one. The Dockers need him firing. 

PREDICTION: Fremantle by six points

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