Dockers' stars key to AFL finals push - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Dockers' stars key to AFL finals push

Sam Lienert 19/08/2011 06:43:07 PM Comments (0)

Fremantle are relishing finally having the cream of their midfield together for a late AFL finals push, starting with Saturday night's Etihad Stadium encounter with North Melbourne.

Michael Barlow is building form nicely, after returning midway through the season from his broken leg, star ruckman Aaron Sandilands came back from a foot injury against Carlton last round, with reigning best and fairest David Mundy to return against the Kangaroos.

Mundy's most recent game was in round 12, when he injured his leg, and he has not played even a WAFL game since recovering.

But assistant coach Barry Mitchell said while Mundy might not instantly hit top form, his class and experience would lift teammates.

"We're just happy to have him back, we know he's a significant player in our team, we know the opposition have to worry about him," Mitchell said.

"If we can get a contribution from him we'll be happy with that, we can't put too high expectations on him."

The midfield battle looms as crucial, having been a strength for the Roos this season, helped by consistent performances from Daniel Wells and young guns Andrew Swallow and Jack Ziebell.

They have been given fine service by young ruckman Todd Goldstein, who has been among the competition's form big men.

His battle with Sandilands could be decisive, with Mitchell saying the Fremantle giant would benefit from having last weekend's game under his belt.

"We're confident that the guys we've got can really put pressure on the opposition with first winning the ball, then using the ball," Mitchell said.

"Obviously Sandilands has got a little bit more under him from last week and trained this week, so we think he'll be better again."

While Mitchell acknowledged the ninth-placed Dockers, who have lost their past four games and will be overtaken by 10th-placed North if they lose on Saturday night, were in a must-win situation, he said they had tried not to dwell on that with theirplayers.

"Everyone knows the importance of the game and we haven't tried to really ram it down their throats," Mitchell said.

Utility Adam McPhee returns from suspension for the Dockers, while the Kangaroos have elevated agile running player Aaron Mullett from the rookie list for his AFL debut.

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