Caleb Serong is tackled by Marcus Bontempelli in the match between Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs in R7, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

FREMANTLE star Caleb Serong says the Dockers are preparing to "double down" on their strengths in the second half of the season as internal belief grows following a strong six weeks that have laid the platform for a finals return.

The Dockers have lost only once since beating the Western Bulldogs in round seven and will emerge from the bye with a place in the top eight as they prepare to face Luke Beveridge's team again on Saturday at Marvel Stadium.

Serong said a 92-point win against Melbourne ahead of the break had only helped the team's belief, and the Dockers now intended to further sharpen the weapons they had displayed in a 7-1-4 start to the year.

"For us, it's just doubling down on what makes us us and our strengths and our weapons," the midfielder said on Monday.

Caleb Serong handballs during Fremantle's clash against Brisbane in round one, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

"We've given ourselves a really good chance to build in this second half of the year and a really good chance to play finals footy and be where we want to be come September.

"Last year this time of the year we didn't really have that opportunity ... so it's exciting, and for us we're just doubling down on us."

The Dockers' major weapons are in the midfield and defence, where they lead the AFL in both clearance differential (+8.9) and scores conceded (67.5 points a game).

Serong is not concerned that their round 13 bye would halt the significant momentum that had been generated from the second largest win in coach Justin Longmuir's tenure.

"We don't really think about that too much. If you had told us leading into the Melbourne game that we would have won like that, we would have taken it," the co-vice captain said.


"We're looking at it as a positive and as a chance to refresh for a lot of guys. We want to show up the same after a good win as we do after a tough loss, so it shouldn't affect the way the guys are preparing mentally or physically.

"It was a chance to refresh, and the last few days have been a really good sign to see that the way the guys have really applied themselves to training again."

Serong said there is "a lot of love" from teammates towards senior pair Nat Fyfe and Michael Walters after criticism of each during the recent run of games.

Both bounced back against Melbourne, with Fyfe enjoying his best clearance (five) and contested possession (13) game since round seven, and Walters hitting the scoreboard with a season-high three goals.

"We just fill them with confidence that we back them in," Serong said.

"There's a lot of love in the change rooms for those two guys and the other guys that were copping a little bit of flack as well, with Sean (Darcy) and Luke (Jackson) and how that's going to work.

"So those guys get a lot of love in the four walls from the coaching staff to the players, and I'm sure they feel that and it's our job to make sure they do.

"I think we spoke about it after the game that those guys had a great impact in that game and they responded really well to that criticism.

Marcus Bontempelli is tackled by Kai Lohmann in the match between Brisbane and the Western Bulldogs in R13, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

"We value what they're doing and we understand the role that they're playing in this team, not only on-field, but off-field with their leadership as well."

On the Bulldogs this week, Serong his side would have plans in place to counter superstar midfielder Marcus Bontempelli, regardless of whether they choose to follow a recent trend to bring back a tagger.

"He's a star and he's in my opinion the best player in the comp with what he's able to do both offensively and defensively, and as a team player and a leader," Serong said.

"So he's someone I look up to as a player and he's going have impact either way, but it's how we as a group and whoever gets the role manages that and maintains it.

"But as a group we've got plans that we put in place as we do every week."