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Freo face another speed test: Tucker

Our focus for the Bombers Darcy Tucker spoke to WA media before the team fly out to Melbourne for the round 9 clash against Essendon

Midfielder Darcy Tucker is hopeful Fremantle can reverse the result against another team renowned for their run and gun style of play when taking on Essendon at Marvel Stadium on Saturday.

The ‘fast’ Marvel Stadium deck is known to suit the Bombers’ style of play and Tucker is wary that Fremantle suffered at the hands of Richmond’s quick ball movement in their loss in round eight.

“We have Essendon this week so it’s going to be a huge challenge again,” Tucker said.

“Against Richmond, obviously it wasn’t the performance that we wanted, they came out very strongly and jumped us early and I thought they were harder for longer. 

“We know we’re capable of it, we know (Essendon’s) a quick team but we know that we are as well.

“We’re very capable of bringing high end forward pressure, which we’ve shown over some games this year. That’s just our main focus, going back to the basics and back to our brand of footy…we’ll be competing very strongly if we bring that.”

The game pits Fremantle, who are looking to lock in their spot in the top eight, against Essendon who are one win and percentage behind the eighth-placed Freo.

The Bombers will be hungry to break a three-game losing streak while Freo also want to end their run after back-to-back losses. 

Tucker said that the team had spoken about the importance of the clash.

“We’re sitting four and four and eighth on the ladder, so we’re right in the middle,” Tucker said.

“This week’s a very important game for us and we’ve been talking about that, we want to go out there and rectify last week’s efforts.

“As every single game is in the AFL, if you’re not at your best, you can get punished really quickly as we found at the start of last week’s game”

Tucker feels he is playing at his most consistent this season but is eyeing more improvement. 

The 22-year-old is relishing playing more midfield minutes and has seen a significant increase in his output from 2018.

His disposal average is up to 19.9 compared to 14.3 in 2018 and his contested ball numbers are up to an average of 7.1 from 4.6 in 2018.

“(My season’s been) not too bad, I always have different focuses every week to work on and there are positives and negatives to come out of each game,” Tucker said. 

“I just look to improve every week and really want to cement my spot in the side and keep playing good footy.

“I think I’ve been more consistent this year compared to past years but there’s still a very long way to go and I’ll keep working every single week.”

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