Since 2005 the Western Bulldogs have had the wood on Fremantle. The last time they played, Barry Hall sunk the Dockers almost single-handedly, booting a bagful of goals to help the Bulldogs run out 82 point winners. Big Barry was back in Perth again and no matter where they are on the Ladder, the Bulldogs always give a good account of themselves at the large Patersons Stadium.
In the second Elimination Final, the Hawthorn Hawks traveled west to take on the Fremantle Dockers. Paul Hasleby, who announced his retirement effective from the end of the season, was a surprise omission from the side.
A sell out crowd was treated to an enthralling Round 22 battle between two teams vying to end the home and away season on a triumphant note with a home Final the prize for the winner.
Andrew McLeod, knee surgery, ongoing assessment
Chris Knights, foot, indefinite
Brett Burton, knee, ongoing assessment
James Craig, hamstring, 1-2 weeks
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
Andrew McLeod, knee surgery**
A clash between the two top teams in any sport is guaranteed to get the fans out and the hype up. The Collingwood Magpies had the sit on top spot while their challengers, the Fremantle Dockers, were looking to take it away from them. In their 16 year history as a club the Dockers have never been on the top of the table, and this round was their best chance to change that statistic in front of 42,000 fans at Subiaco Oval.
Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Subiaco Oval
Big name cuts to both teams for disciplinary breaches and poor form saw the Fremantle Dockers and the Carlton Blues face off with new look sides and plenty of youth on display. Carlton wore a new away strip, a yellow jumper signed by Lance Armstrong, each one to be sold at auction post-match as a fundraiser for cancer research. Both teams had looked brittle in previous matches and Carlton in particular were out to show the football public that they were serious contenders for the Finals. The umpire was keen to get the ball bounced at the start of the game with players already involved in shoving and niggling that could have resulted in an all-in brawl had it gone on any longer.
Hawthorn have returned to the Final Eight with a hard fought win against a valiant Fremantle Dockers team. Traveling interstate to Subiaco Oval for the Round 8 match against Fremantle, the Hawks came in with a defense seriously undermanned through injury. The Fremantle Dockers were coming off a morale-boosting three game winning streak and had the home advantage. Tipsters were divided in their predictions and Friday night football looked set to reward fans with an absolute beauty.