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Standard has been set: Hamling

Joel Hamling speaks at Tuesday's media conference.

Fremantle’s strong performance against the Western Bulldogs has set the benchmark for the side in season 2017, according to defender Joel Hamling.

After a slow start to the year, Fremantle ran out 16-point winners over the reigning premiers in round three at Domain Stadium.

Keeping direct opponent Travis Cloke goalless, Hamling was pleased to put in a strong performance against his former side and build momentum for this weekend’s clash with Melbourne at the MCG.

“For myself and the team, we’ve set ourselves a high standard now,” Hamling said.

“It does add confidence to the group, especially with the young side we had over the weekend.

"We just changed a few things on the track. We got back to basics and focused on our pressure and our stuff around the ball.

"Our leaders really stood up and the young guys who came in really stood up as well."

“It’s good to build week in and week out. Our pressure was good around the ball and we’re going to go from there (against Melbourne).”

Hamling, who had seven spoils, six marks and five intercept marks on Saturday, said he was starting to feel settled with his new team, and credited the midfield for easing the pressure on other areas on the ground.

“I think the first couple games I felt a little off (and was) trying to find my feet,” Hamling said

“But the midfield really helped me to play my role, and as well as my teammates in the backline.

“It was good to have the guys in there, led by Nat Fyfe and Stephen Hill.

“They really set their dominance in the midfield, and that’s what the Bulldogs are really good at.

“They pride themselves on winning the contested ball, and the boys really did that in the first quarter and it set the tone throughout the night.”

Hamling said Fremantle was wary of facing a Melbourne side that will be slightly undermanned with Max Gawn (hamstring), Jordan Lewis (suspended) and Jesse Hogan (suspended) all ruled out for the weekend’s clash.

“Melbourne are a really good side, and we’re not going to take them lightly,’ Hamling said.

“They’ve got a few outs but they’ve got some good guys in the VFL that are playing well too.

“They’re no different whether they’ve got Jesse Hogan or not, it’s going to be exactly the same as it usually is and we’ll take it from there.”

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