Dockers ready to take on Crows midfield
Justin Chadwick
13:53 AEST Mon Aug 6 2012
Matt de Boer
AFL utility Matt de Boer's (pic) move to the midfield has paid dividends for the AFL club.

Fremantle's early-season weakness is fast becoming their strength as the club's fit-and-firing midfield brigade eye off another AFL victory.

The Dockers' midfield group was well off the pace earlier this season, with even the utter dominance of ruckman Aaron Sandilands failing to halt a series of beatings in the clearances.

Sandilands has since succumbed to a toe injury, but the return to full fitness of David Mundy and Michael Barlow after their interrupted pre-season campaigns - plus the recent inclusion of Nat Fyfe - has transformed Fremantle's midfield into a major weapon.

Coach Ross Lyon's decision to shift hard-nut utility Matt de Boer into the middle has also paid handsome dividends.

Against West Coast on Saturday, Fremantle lost the hitout count 61-38 but won the clearances 49-35 on the way to a smashing 65-point triumph.

The Dockers will get an even sterner test on Saturday when they take on the might of Adelaide's on-ball brigade at AAMI Stadium.

The Crows' midfield group runs deep, with the likes of Patrick Dangerfield, Rory Sloane and Scott Thompson headlining the well-oiled machine.

Fremantle will enter the clash full of confidence following a five-game winning streak that has catapulted them to within 0.8 per cent of eighth-placed Essendon.

Dockers defender Paul Duffield heaped special praise on Fyfe, who tallied 28 possessions against the Eagles in just his second game back from shoulder surgery.

"He's just a bit of a freak Fyfey," Duffield said.

"He's able to achieve things that most normal people can't.

"His ability to come into the side and slot straight back in has been fantastic.

"As a defender, that gives you a lot of confidence when your midfield is winning the ball and sending it forward."

Fremantle is nervously awaiting the match review panel's findings on Monday after de Boer (tripping) and key defender Luke McPharlin (rough conduct) were both reported against the Eagles.

Skipper Matthew Pavlich, who booted eight goals to take the lead in the Coleman Medal race, will also face scrutiny for his swinging-arm hit on Eagles defender Mitch Brown.

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