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Aussie Rules: Richmond v Fremantle preview

There is plenty at stake at Marvel Stadium on Friday night as Richmond are fighting to secure a place in the top eight, while Fremantle will attempt to keep their top-two hopes alive.

It is another huge week in the AFL and round 19 could not start with a much better game as the eighth-placed Tigers take on the fourth-placed Dockers under the lights in Melbourne.

The race to make the top eight could not be much tighter and following a couple of poor results the Tigers are in desperate need of a win if they are to play finals.

That is not an issue for Fremantle. They will be back in finals for the first time since 2015. However following a fantastic season so far anything other than a top-four finish would be seen as a huge disappointment.

Indeed the men from the west could be disappointed to miss out on the top two. It is tighter than ever at the top and they still have a sniff of winning the minor premiership.

The tension is building up nicely ahead of the game so let’s take a closer look at both sides as they prepare to do battle.

What: Richmond Tigers v Fremantle
Where: Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
When: 19:50 (AEST) Friday 22nd July 2022
How to watch: 7mate, Kayo, Foxtel
Odds: Richmond 91/100, Fremantle 91/100

Richmond will be kicking themselves. The Tigers are clinging on to eighth spot on the ladder but had they been able to see games out, could quite easily be pushing for the top two.

Damien Hardwick’s side slipped to another defeat last weekend this time against a North Melbourne side who are struggling at the foot of the ladder, had just sacked their coach and had won just once all season.

However the Kangaroos still came out on top.

The week before Rochmond lost to the Gold Coast Suns and on both occasions the Tigers had put themselves into a winning situation, only to throw it away.

It is a worrying trend for the Tigers as it is not the first time it has happened this season. Indeed on six occasions the Tigers have been leading heading into the final quarter but have gone on to lose.

They need to turn around their fortunes quickly if they are to qualify for finals, starting against the Dockers on Friday night.

The next three games are huge for the Tigers and are tricky to say the least. After the clash with Freo they will face flag contenders Brisbane and then Port Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval.

They wrap up the regular season with games against Hawthorn and Essendon. Neither are easy, particularly Essendon who have hit some form.

Richmond’s chances of getting the job done against Freo have also been hit by a couple of big outs as both Dustin Martin and Tom Lynch are not ready to return just yet.

Martin has been on the sidelines since round 16 with a hamstring injury. It was only expected to keep him out for a couple of weeks but is proving to be more problematic.

Lynch also sat out the shock defeat against North Melbourne with a hamstring injury and the Freo game will come too soon.

There is better news for the Tigers as Ivan Soldo (thumb), Sydney Stack (fractured cheekbone) and Jack Ross (knee) are expected to be available.

Meanwhile Josh Gibcus could also be available after recovering from a shoulder injury.

Fremantle remain in fourth place on the ladder but their chances of finishing in the top two suffered a setback when they slipped to a defeat against the Sydney Swans on home soil last week.

They still have a chance of making it but now face two huge games against Richmond and Melbourne on consecutive Friday nights.

The next three games against Richmond, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs are all big. They wrap up the regular season with a derby game against struggling West Coast before travelling to Sydney to face GWS.

In the loss to Sydney, the Swans took 88 uncontested marks compared to Fremantle’s 30 in the second half and it proved to be the difference.

Dockers coach Justin Longmuir was not too concerned and does not expect the opposition to attempt similar tactics over the rest of the season, but it will be interesting see if the Tigers copy the Swans approach.

Longmuir says his players were just too slow to respond to the change in tactics so they should have learnt their lesson.

Freo have been hit by the news that leading goal-kicker Rory Lobb will not take his place in the side after failing to recover from a shoulder injury.

There is some good news though as vice-captain and star defender Alex Pearce returns after missing the last two games with a calf injury.

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