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Fremantle v Collingwood

Walyalup (Fremantle) and Collingwood face off at Optus Stadium, with the Dockers aiming to break into the top eight and the Magpies battling injuries while extending their unbeaten run.

Separated by a mere two points on the ladder, Walyalup (Fremantle) and Collingwood are set to clash at Optus Stadium on Friday night in what promises to be an enthralling encounter. The last time these two teams met was in Round 18, 2023, where the Magpies secured a decisive 113-67 victory at the MCG. This win was highlighted by Nick Daicos’s stellar performance, recording 36 disposals, 11 score involvements, and a goal.

Walyalup enters this match on the back of an impressive 72-55 win over St Kilda at Marvel Stadium, marking their sixth win of the season. Caleb Serong was instrumental in this victory, amassing 30 disposals and nine clearances. This win has positioned the Dockers just outside the top eight by a slim percentage, winning three of their past four matches.

Collingwood, on the other hand, extended their unbeaten run to seven matches with a narrow 78-74 win over Adelaide at the MCG. Nick Daicos continued his exceptional form with 41 disposals and 14 clearances, while veteran Scott Pendlebury contributed with 30 disposals and two goals. The Magpies have shown remarkable resilience, winning the clearance battle in four of their last five matches, a statistic that could prove crucial against the Dockers, who rank first for average clearance differential (+9.3) this season.

Walyalup (6-4) is on the cusp of breaking into the top four. With a home victory against the reigning premiers, they could significantly bolster their position before heading to Darwin to face the Demons and then having a bye. The return of their #1 ruckman Sean Darcy, who has been battling leg injuries, is a significant boost. This allows Luke Jackson, who is coming off one of his best games, to play primarily as a key forward.

Collingwood (6-3-1) has climbed to fifth spot, demonstrating formidable form despite a growing injury list. Their recent history at Optus Stadium is promising, having won three of their past four visits since 2020. However, the Magpies have had to make four forced changes for this match, with Jordan De Goey being a notable absentee, though Brody Mihocek headlines the inclusions.

Historically, Collingwood has dominated this matchup, winning comfortably in their last three encounters, including an 80-44 win on their most recent trip to Optus Stadium. Despite this, the current situation might favor the Dockers. The Magpies’ lengthy injury list and the number of inexperienced players they are fielding could give Walyalup the upper hand. With a robust home advantage and the return of key players, the Dockers are rightly tagged as favorites for Friday night’s showdown.

This clash promises to be a critical fixture for both teams as they strive to solidify their positions on the ladder. With both sides showcasing remarkable talent and form, fans can expect a fiercely contested battle under the lights of Optus Stadium.

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