Fremantle will back its own ruck combination to be a strength against St Kilda in Saturday night's crunch game at Etihad Stadium, with big man Sean Darcy primed for the unique challenge of tackling the Saints' dangerous duo. 

Darcy played one of his best games for the season against Port Adelaide in round 16, dominating the hit-outs (38) and getting busy at ground level with nine clearances and 16 contested possessions. 

He split the honours for best afield with ruck support Rory Lobb in the AFL Coaches Association award, and midfielder Caleb Serong said the pair would have a clear plan to take on Paddy Ryder and Rohan Marshall on Saturday.  

"You don't have too many teams in the comp that have two elite ruckmen like the Saints do, so it's a different challenge but I feel like Sean's up to it," Serong said on Thursday.  

"They've both been in some really good form, especially Ryder at centre bounce. He's a really good ruckman and gives their midfield first look a lot of the time. 

"Sean's really excited and he has some clear plans. You see him when he comes up against the best ruckmen in the comp, he never shies away from the challenge and he's always there on the front foot getting ready to go."

Lobb was brilliant in the forward line against the Power last Sunday, booting a career-best five goals and supporting Darcy with 13 hit-outs in the eight-point win.  

Darcy could be required to shoulder a larger load in the ruck if key forward Matt Taberner is unavailable due to hamstring tightness, but Serong said the 24-year-old could handle it.

"He's been playing those minutes the whole year and he hasn't been dropping off. He's been building as the game goes on if anything," the midfielder said. 

"Lobby's been really good in the ruck as well when he's come in there and he's given Sean a good little breather when he needs it.  

"Having those two working together is our own strength."

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Serong will play his 50th game this week, reaching the first milestone of his career having already established himself as one of his team's best midfielders and a member of the leadership group.  

The 21-year-old, who has averaged a career-best 25.8 disposals and 5.1 clearances in 2022, said his own form had been building this season and he had met one of the targets he set after making his debut three years ago.  

"You don't have any expectations coming in, but one goal I set myself was that once I did debut and play my first game I wanted to try and stay in the team," he said. 

"That's something I've been focusing on since I did debut and that's been pleasing. 

"I feel like I've been building and as a midfield group overall we've had some really good success."

Taberner didn't make an appearance at a light training session on Thursday after being substituted against the Power with hamstring tightness, but he did push his case for selection on Wednesday. 

Captain Nat Fyfe appeared untroubled by a finger complaint that flared briefly on Wednesday, handling the ball cleanly in tight during handballing drills. 

Defender Heath Chapman has recovered from a hamstring injury he suffered in May and has been "dominating the track the last week or two and flying around", according to Serong.

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