The West

Sandi to mix it up
Sandi to mix it up

Star ruckman Aaron Sandilands says he must make his tap work unpredictable if Fremantle are to take control at stoppages this season.

The 211cm giant dominated the hit-outs against Collingwood during their season opener 12 days ago, but the Dockers still lost the clearances 38-33 despite winning the game by 70 points.

It is an issue the three-times All-Australian is well aware of heading into a clash with Gold Coast at Patersons Stadium on Saturday.

"Sides do a lot of homework and prepare and try to get in our hit-to areas," Sandilands said. "It's important we keep mixing up the areas we go to and try to be as unpredictable as possible."

But Sandilands said he wouldn't do anything special to try to quell the influence of dual Brownlow medallist Gary Ablett.

He said Gold Coast had plenty of midfielders capable of causing damage, including Dion Prestia and Jaeger O'Meara.

"He's (Ablett) a quality player and it will be a team focus against him to try to negate him," he said.

"His record speaks for itself so we know we've got to be on the job to stop him. We go in the way we want to play.

"Crowls (Ryan Crowley) has been in great form again and he's probably one of the best taggers in the game.

"I'm not sure who he'll go to, but if he goes to Ablett, he'll look forward to the challenge. They've got a lot of depth.

"They've turned into a quality side and it will be a great battle."

Sandilands said he was benefiting from one of his best pre- seasons and believed he could build on his 19 disposals and 39 hit-outs against the Pies.

"To miss so much footy over the past three years is disappointing," he said. "But the hunger for the game and hunger to be part of a successful side is still there.

"I'm confident the body will stand up and get through it."

Sandilands was unsure whether Jack Hannath or Zac Clarke, who has played just one WAFL game on his return from a knee injury, would partner him against the Suns.

"That's a decision that's out of my hands," he said.

"He (Zac) performed pretty well on the weekend so I'm sure he'll put his hand up. He's an amazing athlete."

Fellow tall Tanner Smith's hamstring injury is worse than it initially seemed and he will be out for six to eight weeks.

Sandilands was joined by Matt de Boer, Chris Mayne, Alex Silvagni, Garrick Ibbotson and Lachie Neale as the club entertained Starlight wish children and their families yesterday ahead of Saturday's annual Starlight Purple Haze Game.

"It's important we keep mixing up the areas we go to and try to be as unpredictable as possible."" *Aaron Sandilands *

The West Australian

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