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Match preview: Gold Coast v Fremantle

Pick a Winner: GC v Frem Duck and Browny preview the Suns v Dockers
Gold Coast's David Swallow finally reaches the 100-game milestone this weekend - AFL,Gold Coast Suns,Fremantle Dockers
Gold Coast's David Swallow finally reaches the 100-game milestone this weekend

Gold Coast will 'host' this encounter against Fremantle at Optus Stadium after the Dockers bought the rights to the game. It's not the first time the Suns have sold a home game – does China ring a bell? – and the travel shouldn't be a problem after winning their first two road contests against North Melbourne (in Cairns) and Carlton at Etihad Stadium. Tom Lynch is fresh off eight goals, the midfield led by Jarryd Lyons and 100-gamer David Swallow is working hard, and small forwards Nick Holman and Darcy Macpherson are providing relentless tackling pressure. But whether that will be enough against a rejuvenated Dockers is hard to tell after Fremantle comprehensively beat Essendon at their new home ground last weekend. The midfield depth that includes Nat Fyfe, Michael Walters, David Mundy, Lachie Neale and youngster Connor Blakely is a real weapon. Form is still hard to gauge at this time of the season, but after two consistent outings, Gold Coast deserve to be slight favourites.

WHERE AND WHEN: Optus Stadium, Saturday, April 7, 2.35pm WST 

TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide

R20, 2017: Fremantle 12.18 (90) d Gold Coast 10.7 (67) at Subiaco Oval
R18, 2016: Gold Coast 16.9 (105) d Fremantle 12.9 (81) at Metricon Stadium
R2, 2016: Gold Coast 19.12 (126) d Fremantle 14.16 (100) at Subiaco Oval
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 Subiaco Oval

1. When the teams last played in round 20 last year, the Dockers took 32 more marks, had 13 more scoring shots and laid 34 more tackles. Cam McCarthy booted four goals and Lachie Neale starred with 32 disposals and 10 tackles.  

2. Gold Coast has preferred to dispose by foot in the first two rounds, averaging 258 kicks a game compared to just 119 handballs, ranking them 17th in the competition in the latter category. 

3. This is the ninth meeting between the clubs, with the Dockers holding a 6-2 head-to-head advantage. Gold Coast have lost nine of 10 total games in Perth.

4. The Suns' tackling in the first two games has been outstanding. After being ranked last in 2017 with just 62 a game, they have jumped to 96.5 a game to top the League over the opening fortnight. 

5. Fremantle reached the century last week against Essendon; the first time they've done so since round seven last season. They've averaged 83 points a game over the first two weeks, up from 73 a game in 2017.

6. Jarryd Lyons had a stunning 36 disposals, 14 clearances and a goal against Carlton last week. The monster game jumped the Gold Coast midfielder to a career-high 19th overall in the Schick AFL Player Ratings

Gold Coast battering ram David Swallow is playing his 100th game, ironically back in his home state. It hasn't been an easy road for the former number one draft pick, taking more than seven seasons to reach the landmark after a litany of injuries. If the Suns were to ever lift for a milestone game, it would be for Swallow, a heart and soul player of the club.

PREDICTION: Gold Coast by 10 points.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs