Fremantle and Hawthorn are unbeaten heading into Friday night’s grand final re-match at the MCG.
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon insists his side carry no emotional baggage into Friday night’s AFL grand final re-match against Hawthorn at the MCG.
The Dockers were left heartbroken in last year’s decider after their wayward display in front of goal resulted in a 15-point loss to the Hawks.
Fremantle have started their 2014 campaign in stunning fashion, belting Collingwood by 70 points before whipping Gold Coast 87-39 in the wet on Saturday night.
The Hawks are also unbeaten after posting wins over Brisbane and Essendon, and Lyon said Alastair Clarkson’s unit was still the clear benchmark of the competition and the model for sustained success.
Lyon isn’t one for getting involved in pre-game hype – the veteran coach sarcastically suggesting he’ll get out his streamers this week to pump up Friday’s blockbuster.
More seriously, Lyon was adamant last year’s grand final loss hadn’t scarred his players.
“There’s no emotion for us. It’s done and dusted. I don’t live in the past,” Lyon said.
“They’ve got a nice shiny cup and we haven’t got much.
“We’ve moved on. If you get stuck on the past with anything in life, let alone footy, you can lose your way pretty quickly.
“We’re coming up against a formidable opponent on their home dung hill and we’re keen to measure ourselves and try and improve.”
Fremantle ruckman Aaron Sandilands will enter the match in career-best form after producing a devastating display against the Suns.
Sandilands tallied 58 hit-outs for the match, with the three-time All-Australian falling just five hit-outs short of equalling the VFL/AFL record set by Gary Dempsey in 1982.
But it remains to be seen whether athletic ruckman Zac Clarke will join Sandilands against the Hawks.
Clarke hasn’t featured for the Dockers since injuring his knee at a music festival in December, with Lyon opting for Jack Hannath in the opening two rounds.
Meanwhile, Gold Coast coach Guy McKenna says he’s unsure whether star midfielder Harley Bennell will be fit to return for Saturday’s clash with Brisbane at Metricon Stadium.
Bennell missed the opening two rounds due to a nagging calf injury, and McKenna said the 21-year-old won’t be considered for selection until he gets through a full week of training.
“He hasn’t torn it … but he aggravated it,” McKenna said.
“It’s a bit of a mystery, but fingers crossed he can get through the week unscathed.”
The Suns have won six of their past eight games at home, but McKenna said it’s time for the fourth-year club to win consistently on the road.