Friday night’s AFL grand final rematch represents a timely opportunity for Fremantle to dish out some punishment to reigning premiers Hawthorn.
It’s the losing team’s first chance to get some revenge against last year’s premiers, and on recent history that’s usually what happens.
In four of the past five AFL grand final rematches, the previous year’s runners-up have knocked off the reigning premiers.
Geelong not only avenged their 2008 grand final loss to Hawthorn in the opening round of 2009, they went on to beat the Hawks on 11 consecutive occasions in a streak that did not end until last year’s preliminary final.
The good news for 2013 runners-up Fremantle ahead of Friday night’s round-three clash with premiers Hawthorn at the MCG is that recent history is on their side.
While the Dockers will have key players such as suspended pair Nat Fyfe and Zac Dawson and injured onballer Michael Barlow unavailable, Hawthorn skipper Luke Hodge looks an unlikely participant after failing to train with the main group on Tuesday.
Bookmakers have listed the Hawks as favourites for Friday night, but the revenge factor can’t be overlooked. What hurts more in football than losing a grand final?
Twice in the past five years, the previous season’s runners-up have beaten the reigning premiers as a stepping stone to going all the way in September to claiming a flag.
Geelong in 2008-09 and Hawthorn in 2012-13 are examples of sides that have gone one better the following year.
No AFL team has won consecutive flags since Brisbane in 2001-03, and the Hawks haven’t won two premierships in a row since 1988-89.
Fremantle, without a flag since joining the league in 1995, tasted grand-final action for the first time in 2013.
Now it’s time for the Dockers to face the challenge of a grand-final rematch.
Playing away and outsiders in the betting markets, the Dockers are tipped to struggle.
But fortune will favour the brave. And recent history favours the Dockers.