Angus Brayshaw was born in WA, grew up barracking for the Dockers, and has a younger brother in Andrew who’s become one of Freo’s finest. So it’s equally as disappointing as it is surprising that it’s taken until late in the eighth season of the Melbourne half-back’s 137-game career for him to finally face Fremantle in a game in WA. Angus has remarkably played in more grand final wins at Optus Stadium than he has matches against the Dockers in his eight visits to the venue. The Demon holds a 3-1 head-to-head advantage over his younger brother as he looks to help lead the premiers to their first win over Freo in Perth since 2004.
Fremantle’s thrilling draw with Richmond was the AFL’s 38th tie since the turn of the century – a figure that includes the 2010 split grand final but not West Coast’s extra-time finals in 2007 and 2017. But the Dockers and Tigers carved out a piece of history by providing the longest deadlocked build-up to a draw since 2000. Neither team added to the score after Bailey Banfield’s goal at the 17min 4sec mark, with the ensuing 11min 38sec of actual time almost double the next-longest lead-in to a draw in that span.
Speaking of that Banfield major: It was a milestone one for Freo in the AFL’s heartland state. The superb left-foot snap that ultimately helped the Dockers secure a draw was the club’s 2000th goal in Victoria. Matthew Pavlich booted 191 of those goals and dished off 55 goal assists, meaning he is directly responsible for essentially one-eighth of every Fremantle goal ever kicked in the state.
Whole lot of touches
Andrew Gaff this week becomes the 274th AFL/VFL player to reach the 250-game mark – and he’s had his fingerprints on the Sherrin more than all bar a select few of them at that stage of their careers. Should Gaff (currently 6584 disposals) hit his career average of 26 touches per game in his milestone match, he’ll nudge over Scott Pendlebury for the fourth-most disposals by any player at game 250. The top three is reserved for a triumvirate of prolific Brownlow medallists: Robert Harvey, Greg Williams and Dane Swan.
MOST DISPOSALS AFTER 250 AFL GAMES
- Robert Harvey 6746
- Greg Williams 6721
- Dane Swan 6716
- Scott Pendlebury 6608
- Andrew Gaff 6584 (one game to come)
- Josh P Kennedy 6571
Will the high-stakes Friday night stage propel the Dockers to their biggest-ever non-derby crowd for a home-and-away match? Fremantle will be shooting for the magical 50K mark, which they have experienced five times but never against a travelling interstate side. Freo’s Optus Stadium record for non derbies is the 49,021 they attracted against Essendon in their first game there in 2018, but with a crucial clash looming against the reigning premiers, they’ll be hoping the rain stays away to give them a chance to better that mark.
Josh Rotham entered last weekend’s clash with precisely zero goals and zero hit-outs to his name through 43 games. But he added multiple numbers to both career tallies after booting two goals and registering eight taps against St Kilda in a new-look ruck support role. After Tom Barrass had passed him the mantle of most Eagles games without a goal following his season-opening major in game 100, Rotham now hands it over to 24-gamer Harry Edwards.