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AFLW match preview: Fremantle v Giants

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 18:  Stacey Barr of the Dockers is tackled by Jess Bibby of the Giants during the Women's round three match between Greater Western Sydney Giants and Fremantle Dockers at Blacktown International Sportspark on February 18, 2017 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images/AFL Media)
Stacey Barr in action against the Giants in the 2017 season.

Fremantle has never lost to GWS in the NAB AFL Women’s competition, however they’ve never beaten the Giants either.

On Saturday at Fremantle Oval from 2:05pm, Freo will look to make amends for the heartbreaking draw between the two sides in 2017 at Blacktown ISP Oval, with Fremantle giving up an 11-point half-time lead to see the Giants split the honours. 

Despite last week’s seven-point loss to Brisbane, Fremantle remains well in the hunt for an all-important top-two position in the standings.

Sitting in fourth position, all of Fremantle’s remaining games are must-wins and they all come against teams sitting below Freo in the standings. 

After facing the sixth-placed Giants this weekend, Fremantle’s run home includes the seventh-placed Adelaide in round six and fifth-placed Carlton in round seven. 

If Fremantle can secure wins in those three games, they will need to rely on one of the top two in the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane dropping a game, while picking up percentage to earn a grand final place.

While Kara Donnellan is one of Fremantle’s most consistent performers, a strong showing from the captain will go a long way in deciding Saturday’s result.

Donnellan has averaged 15 disposals in 2018 and has the sixth most tackles for the season, averaging 7.3 per game. 

Lara Filocamo, who collected 19 disposals last year against the Giants on the way to earning three votes in the AFLW Best and Fairest, is also finding her straps this season, coming off an 18-disposal effort in round five against Brisbane. 

Freo's midfield will face a tough test against Alicia Eva, with the Giants vice-captain second in the league for disposals after picking up 23 touches last week against Adelaide.

Fremantle’s fortunes may lie in the performance of the forwardline, with the lineup clinical in Freo’s defeat of Melbourne in round three – kicking six straight goals for the game. 

While last week’s total of 2.3(15) against the Lions seems like a drop-off, the conditions were dire for scoring with 136mm of rain hitting Brisbane on game-day for the city’s wettest February day in 46 years.

Vice captain Amy Lavell leads Fremantle’s goal kicking with four goals while 18-year-old Emily McGuire will be crucial after kicking two goals on debut against Melbourne in round three.

Saturday’s game will be the first time Alex Williams faces her former side, with the key defender a revelation in the backline and performing excellent shutdown roles on opposition forwards since joining the club.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs