Fremantle coach Ross Lyon has identified 12 goals as the magic figure his team must restrict Hawthorn to at the MCG tonight to give the Dockers their best chance of a win that would solidify their hold on outright premiership favouritism.

Lyon said it was unrealistic to think his team could contain the Hawks to five goals, as it had done to Collingwood and Gold Coast in rounds one and two, but a dozen Hawthorn goals would boost the Dockers' hopes.

"Most times if you keep teams to 12 goals it gives you a good chance and you kick your 14, 15 or 16 yourself," Lyon said.

"Five - is that normal? I wouldn't have thought so, there were incredibly tough conditions on the weekend. But clearly we got on top.

"If we could keep the premier team in the competition to 12 goals we would be happy."

Statistics over the past two seasons show that Fremantle win 80 per cent of their matches when their opponents kick 12 goals or less, and only about 27 per cent of games when rivals boot 13 or more.

Hawthorn won just one of four games in 2013 when they kicked 12 goals or less. That game was the grand final when a wasteful Fremantle kicked 8.14.

The Hawks were 0-4 managing 12 goals or less in 2012.

Lyon confirmed it was vital that Fremantle convert opportunities tonight and start well, things they didn't do in last year's grand final.

"It is always important to take your opportunities," he said.

"At the end of the day there is physical pressure and there is scoreboard pressure.

"We would like to get off to a good start. The best teams start well. The best teams tend to win first quarters. It is hard to come from behind, we all know that."

Lyon said the Hawks had a "multi-pronged" forward line, even without Lance Franklin.

He tipped the game would be won and lost midfield and backed his replacements for Nat Fyfe and Michael Barlow to perform.

"Matty de Boer has been going through there, we have had enormous numbers through there, Michael Walters, Lachie Neale should play I would think, all of those types," Lyon said.

"We understand them probably a little bit better than we did last year, but in saying that you have got to get it done.

"It will be won and lost in the midfield. Both teams have got some hits there at the minute."

The West Australian

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