Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hawthorn Hawks vs Fremantle

Saturday’s AFL Grand Final match is between Hawthorn Hawks and Fremantle Dockers. The opening bounce is set to commence at 2.30pm local time with the game to be played at MCG. The home team Hawthorn Hawks are the favourites for the match. View our preview and teams for the game between Hawthorn Hawks and Fremantle Dockers.

The Dockers are delivering on the promise they’ve displayed all year and now find themselves one win away from the Club’s first ever Grand Final appearance.

In the first week of the finals they had the unenviable task of travelling to Simonds Stadium to take on Geelong.

In the first quarter it appeared that the home-side’s significant finals experience over the past decade was going to be too much for the Dockers but the Western Australian side responded well.

The Dockers defence, the best in the league all year, came to the fore and after conceding four majors in the first quarter, they were able to limit Geelong to only five more for the remainder of the match.

At the same time, the decision by Coach Ross Lyons to rest several players for the final round of the home and away season, started to reap rewards as the Dockers run was far greater to that of Geelong’s late in the game and they were able to post a 87 – 72 victory.

Another week off will have the Dockers – and their supporters champing at the bit for this weekend’s clash.

Sydney has faced, Geelong, Hawthorn (twice) and last week, Carlton in what has been a tough test for them over the past month.

The effort and commitment in each of these games, of which their only win was over Carlton, is taking a toll with several big names missing from the line-up this week through injury or suspension.

The Swans need to lift again for this week’s clash. This year, from twelve attempts, the Swans have only been successful on four occasions when taking on teams placed in the top eight and have yet to register a win against a team above them on the ladder.

Sydney hasn’t faced Fremantle in W.A. since their victory in round 20 of 2010. In their three games since then there’s been next to nothing between the two sides. Fremantle have one win by eleven points, Sydney one win by thirteen and in their most recent clash in round 8 of this year, the two sides played out a 70-all draw at the SCG.

The line given to the Swans is -20.5 and given the combination of the Dockers’ good defence and Sydney missing a couple who would normally boot them a few goals, this margin looks reachable.

Fremantle will secure their first ever Grand Final berth and cover the line in the process.

Hawthorn have selected Jonathan Simpkin to replace the injured Brendan Whitecross in their team for Saturday’s AFL grand final.

The Dockers have named an unchanged side.

Simpkin’s selection comes after he was best afield for the Hawks’ VFL affiliate Box Hill in their grand final win on Sunday, which now gives him the chance to play in two premierships six days apart.

It will be the 25-year-old’s first AFL game since round 20 and just the 18th of his career.

The hard-running midfielder-forward has had to battle enormously hard for his AFL chance.

First rookie-drafted by Sydney ahead of the 2006 season, Simpkin didn’t play an AFL game in his two years with the Swans before being delisted at the end of 2007.

He joined Geelong’s VFL side in 2008 and was eventually rookie drafted by the Cats ahead of the 2011 season.

He won the Geelong VFL side’s best and fairest award in 2011 but didn’t make his AFL debut until round nine last year.

He played four AFL games in total for the Cats, including their elimination final loss to Fremantle, before being delisted at the end of last season and joining Hawthorn as a free agent.

He has played 13 games for the Hawks this season, but was not selected for any of their previous finals and was not listed even as an emergency for last weekend’s preliminary final against Geelong.

He gained his chance with his strong VFL performance on Sunday after Whitecross sustained a serious knee injury against the Cats.

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