Copycat Dockers plan to dominate at home
Star defender Luke McPharlin says Fremantle want to replicate the dominance of West Coast in Perth, with the goal of making rival clubs fear any trip west starting with Essendon this Saturday night.
The Eagles are in the midst of a purple patch at Patersons Stadium, having stretched their winning sequence at their home ground to 17 successive matches. In contrast, the Dockers’ win-loss ledger in Perth this year sits at 3-3.
They have won just as many games outside of WA this season and in doing so ended a significant hoodoo on the road.
Their 12-point victory over Richmond at the MCG 11 days ago was their first win at the venue in 11 attempts. They are sitting 11th, but are only outside the top eight on percentage.
McPharlin will register his 200-game milestone against the sixth-placed Bombers at Patersons Stadium this weekend in a success-starved career that started with 12 games at Hawthorn.
He said Fremantle wanted to follow the example set by their cross-town rivals by establishing a more formidable record at home.
“We took a big step forward with a win at the MCG, which we hadn’t done for many years, a couple of weeks ago,” McPharlin said.
“Now we need to consolidate in front of our home crowd.
“The West Coast Eagles talk about it a fair bit, about creating this Colosseum or cauldron of fear that Subiaco needs to become.
“We need to continue to make it increasingly difficult for the Eastern States teams to come over here. We want them to fear Subi, we want them to know that when they come to our home State that they’re going to have to bring their A-game.”
Essendon have lost their last six matches at Patersons Stadium and appear vulnerable on the back of consecutive defeats. But McPharlin said the Bombers had impressed him this season and would be no pushovers.
“They’ve got some speed and the way they move the ball is pretty impressive,” McPharlin said.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us. They’re going to be a big hurdle to get over Saturday night.”
McPharlin acknowledged he was now playing the most consistent football of his career at the age of 30 in his 13th AFL season. He said his once injury-prone body was feeling as good as it ever had.
“I’m not sure for how much longer that will be the case,” he said.
“I’m at a point where I need to take it one year at a time.
“That’s just the nature of it being that I’m 30 now and have been around a long time.”
“We need to continue to make it increasingly difficult for the Eastern States teams.”