The Key Indicator
Fremantle’s forward options and effectiveness going inside 50
While Ross Lyon’s game plan focuses strongly on stopping the opposition from scoring, and although Fremantle is one of the League’s best defensive teams, the Dockers can sometimes struggle when going forward themselves. This is significantly clearer with Matthew Pavlich out of the side. In rounds one-three the Dockers averaged 12 marks inside 50 per game. Last week, without Pavlich they only had eight. If Fremantle is going to be able to compete with a team that can score heavily like Richmond, it’s going to have to find more avenues to goal.
Leigh says: "Ross Lyon likes to set up his team to make it hard for the opposition to score, and he does this by getting big numbers of players into the opposition forward line. One of the by-products of this is that you really need good forwards to go to on the rebound, and with Pavlich missing this means somebody else must step up in contests or they must be effective going forward. Fremantle has only scored goals on 24 per cent of its inside 50's, which is very low. Without Pavlich in the side they have to figure out how they can be more effective going forward. Chris Mayne is no Matthew Pavlich but he becomes one they must depend on. They look to me at the moment a bit like a 10 or 12 goal team, so the question becomes whether they can keep the opposition below 10 or 12 goals."
The Key Player
We can be confident that Cotchin will win a lot of the ball in this match (he hasn't had under 27 disposals in a game this season) but whether he can use it effectively will be important in the outcome of the game. Cotchin's overall disposal efficiency this season is 58 per cent (kicking efficiency is 54 per cent). In comparison his teammate Brett Deledio is disposing of the ball at 78 per cent efficiency, and Collingwood midfielder Scott Pendlebury is going at 74 per cent. The competition average is 70 per cent. There is no doubt that Cotchin is well on his way to becoming one of the elite midfielders of the competition, but his effectiveness with the ball is one area in which there is room for improvement.
Leigh says: "Cotchin is the Tigers most consistent ball winner, but I'm a bit concerned that he's getting a lot of the ball but not much is coming from it. A lot of his disposal is rushed and under pressure. I just don't think Richmond are getting a whole lot of creativity out of Cotchin, just from what I've seen recently. He's certainly Richmond's key midfielder, but he needs to be able to be better with his ball use, and the opposition will know that too so they'll be trying very hard to make sure that he gets no time and space. He's probably going to be manned up by Crowley, who's very good at what he does."
The Last Word: Richmond to win
Leigh says: "Richmond weren't great last week, but I'm going for them over in Perth. At the moment, without the go-to player in the forward line, the Dockers are all of a sudden looking a bit sub-standard."
Round five tips
Essendon v COLLINGWOOD
St Kilda v SYDNEY SWANS
Fremantle v RICHMOND
Greater Western Sydney v GOLD COAST
CARLTON v Adelaide
Western Bulldogs v GEELONG
PORT ADELAIDE v West Coast
BRISBANE LIONS v Melbourne
HAWTHORN v North Melbourne
*Winner in capitals