Main content

Match preview: Fremantle v St Kilda

Pick a Winner: Frem v StK Duck and Browny preview the Dockers v Saints
Jack Steven will need to get his hands on plenty of the ball if the Saints are going to win - AFL,Fremantle Dockers,St Kilda Saints,Optus Stadium
Jack Steven will need to get his hands on plenty of the ball if the Saints are going to win

The Dockers returned home with their tails between their legs after copping a pasting from Richmond at the MCG, but they are a different outfit at Optus Stadium and will start warm favourites against a disappointing St Kilda outfit. The Dockers have won three of their four games at home, averaging 98 points and playing a fast and free-flowing brand. No interstate side has won at WA's new football venue since Sydney knocked over West Coast in round one and St Kilda will need to show vast improvement to trouble Freo. The Saints have gone winless since round one – albeit with one draw – and are having nightmares in front of goal, kicking 45.78 combined over the past six matches. It will take a more polished display from the visitors to stop rampant superstar Nat Fyfe leading Fremantle to another home triumph.

WHERE AND WHEN: Optus Stadium, Saturday, May 12, 6.10pm AWST

TV AND RADIO: Click here for broadcast guide  

R15, 2017, St Kilda 12.17 (89) d Fremantle 12.8 (80) at Subiaco Oval
R10, 2016, St Kilda 15.11 (101) d Fremantle 10.7 (67) at Etihad Stadium
R19, 2015, Fremantle 15.6 (96) d St Kilda 8.11 (59) at Etihad Stadium
R18, 2014, St Kilda 17.16 (118) d Fremantle 9.6 (60) at Etihad Stadium
R23, 2013, St Kilda 16.16 (112) d Fremantle 6.5 (41) at Etihad Stadium 

1. Injured Freo star Michael Walters produced a great individual display last time the teams met, booting a career-high six goals from 32 disposals, but the Saints took the points in just their second interstate win from 13 games.

2. The struggling Saints are ranked first for uncontested possessions but 16th for contested possessions.

3. St Kilda has had the better of Fremantle recently, winning four of the last five contests and eight of 11 since 2010. The nine-point margin in 2017 was the first single-figure result between the sides since 2008.

4. The Dockers laid only 41 tackles in their hammering 77-point defeat against Richmond and are the lowest ranked tackling side after seven rounds, averaging 52.3 per game.

5. Freo has been mighty at home but meek away this season. Ross Lyon's men average 98 points per game at Optus Stadium, where they have won three of four games, but only 60 on the road. St Kilda has failed to score more than 10 goals in a game since round one.

6. The Dockers have pondered resting big man Aaron Sandilands but his value to the side is making that difficult. Despite Nat Fyfe's excellent game against Richmond, likely to earn him another three Brownlow Medal votes, the Schick AFL Player Ratings ranked Sandilands as the best Docker on the ground.

The Saints midfield is going to have its work cut out against Fyfe and co. and if St Kilda's best onballer Jack Steven doesn't fire, it's difficult to see Alan Richardson's side upsetting the Dockers.

PREDICTION: Fremantle by 32 points