2020 Toyota AFL Premiership
Round 17 • North Melbourne v Fremantle
Metricon Stadium Gold Coast
35 5.5
Full Time Dockers by 64
99 15.9
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    Preview: Round 17, 2020

    Both teams will be hopeful of a win when North meets Fremantle on Saturday afternoon.

    North Melbourne v Fremantle
    Saturday, September 12 - 2.10pm AEST
    Metricon Stadium
     

    Both teams will be hopeful of a win when North meets Fremantle on Saturday afternoon. 

    The Roos are on a six-game losing streak, but showed promising signs last week, winning two quarters against ladder-leader, Port Adelaide.

    Fremantle is coming off an impressive win over Melbourne, but will have two days less rest than the Roos, and have to travel to the Gold Coast from Cairns.

    Although they sit 13th on the ladder, Justin Longmuir’s side has been notoriously hard to score against, having the fifth-best defensive record. 

    They have however, only scored two more points than the 18th placed Crows, so a high-scoring affair is unlikely. 

    North will be hopeful of giving Todd Goldstein a 250th game to remember. 

    Last time we met

    Round 1, 2019

    It was a day to forget for the Roos, as they were defeated to the tune of 82 points. 

    Not much went right for North as Nat Fyfe ran riot in the midfield with 32 disposals and Cam McCarthy booted 5 goals.

    Bailey Scott was a shining light on debut, with his 21 disposals and 2 goals earning him the Rising Star nomination.

    The matchup

    Todd Goldstein v Sean Darcy 

    Veteran ruckman Goldstein will take on the up-and-coming Darcy in the centre square.

    Although Darcy is 10 years Goldstein’s junior, he arguably got the better of the contest the last time the two faced off. 

    But Goldstein has been among the best in the competition this season, and will be determined to do everything he can to get a win in his milestone game. 

    The key men 

    Andrew Brayshaw and Luke Davies-Uniacke 

    Picks 2 and 4 in the 2017 Draft, both midfielders have enjoyed career-best form. 

    Davies-Uniacke has shown some exciting signs in recent weeks, and is improving as his confidence grows. 

    He notched up a game-high 16 contested possessions against Port, and will be looking to keep building against a young Fremantle midfield. 

    Brayshaw has stepped up for the Dockers, averaging a career-best 20.1 disposals and 5.2 tackles. 

    He and fellow 2017 draftee Adam Cerra have taken the load off Fyfe this year, and will provide another test for Davies-Uniacke and the North midfield. 

    The stat 

    Against Port, Goldstein became just the second player to record 8000 hit-outs. This week he will become just the 11th North player and the first ruckman to reach 250 games,

    Match report: Round 17, 2020

    North Melbourne has suffered a heavy defeat to Fremantle on Saturday afternoon.

    North Melbourne has suffered a heavy defeat to Fremantle on Saturday afternoon.

    The Dockers' highest score under Justin Longmuir was the Roos' biggest total conceded for 2020 and ruined ruckman Todd Goldstein's 250th AFL game celebrations.

    The Roos' lack of pressure was their biggest concern, managing just 35 tackles as the Dockers delivered a 15.9 (99) to 5.5 (35) procession at Metricon Stadium.

    Longmuir's side amassed a whopping 72 more uncontested disposals and 46 more marks as their possession style game exposed the Roos' ability to cover the ground defensively. 

    Worryingly, the Roos conceded six more clearances in an area of the ground they've relied on this year. They now have just one win from their past 14 matches.

    The Dockers' forwards, including Nat Fyfe for bursts, got on top early and caused serious headaches for the Roos' key defenders.

    Jesse Hogan finished with four goals in his best effort as a Docker, Lachie Schultz and Matt Taberner each booted three, and Michael Walters chipped in with three of his own after getting off a Luke McDonald leash late.

    Cameron Zurhaar (two goals) and Nick Larkey (one) looked the only likely options in attack for the Roos, while Taylor Garner hit the scoreboard at the start of the final term in his first match for 386 days.

    Veteran David Mundy (24 disposals) showed his class was worthy of a one-year extension, while Shaun Higgins (19 disposals) was one of few midfielders to breakeven for the Roos.

    Can the Dockers' three-pronged attack work in 2021?

    On Saturday's evidence, it's a resounding yes. Rory Lobb collected seven marks roaming across half-forward, allowing Matt Taberner and Jesse Hogan to combine for seven goals in the forward 50 alongside Nat Fyfe for large parts. Taberner now sits third in the race for the Coleman Medal with 30 majors for the year, while Lobb showcased his new set shot routine off a couple of steps to great success, shelving his previous stutter approach. The trio's efforts made for a tough day for Robbie Tarrant, Ben McKay and Ed Vickers-Willis. 

    Dockers recruits paying their way

    James Aish (23 disposals) and Blake Acres (24 disposals) both arrived at Fremantle on three-year contracts at the end of last season and both were among the Dockers' best against the Roos. Playing across wing and half-back, the pair were allowed to run riot and would've given the Dockers' hierarchy plenty to smile about on their upside around their young midfield teammates going into 2021.

    Which turn does Rhyce Shaw take next?

    In a year that offered so much promise at 2-1, the Roos tasted victory in just one of their next 14 games – against North's wooden-spoon rival Adelaide. And in five days, 2020 will end after a clash with West Coast. Shaw has tried dumping his high-priced midfielders to no effect, and on Saturday, with Aaron Hall and Jared Polec in the side, the Roos delivered their worst defensive effort of the season. Hall and Polec were among a group of 12 players that recorded one or no tackles. After trying different avenues to get a response out of his side, Shaw will be at a loss approaching next week's exit interviews.

    NORTH MELBOURNE             1.0       2.2       3.4       5.5 (35)
    FREMANTLE                            3.3       7.4       11.6     15.9 (99)

    GOALS
    North Melbourne:
     Zurhaar 2, Larkey, Garner, Hall
    Fremantle: Hogan 4, Schultz 3, Taberner 3, Walters 3, Lobb, Darcy

    BEST
    North Melbourne: 
    Higgins, McDonald, Zurhaar, Simpkin, Dumont
    Fremantle: Mundy, Fyfe, Acres, Darcy, Schultz, Hogan, Lobb 

    INJURIES
    North Melbourne: 
    Nil
    Fremantle: Nil

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