Let the Cat fight begin
Ryan Crowley, right, and Steve Johnson will be the centre of attention tonight. Pic: AFL Media

Chris Scott and Ross Lyon have been quick to downplay it this week, but the match review panel fallout suggests the rivalry between Fremantle and Geelong is the most heated in the game.

Since the moment a stray Dean Solomon elbow broke Cameron Ling's cheekbone in 2008, the Dockers and the Cats have been at each other's throats.

In the nine games played between the sides since that infamous hit, seven have resulted in charges laid by the MRP.

The past five encounters have been among the most heated, with 10 charges dished out.

Solomon's eight-week ban remains the most severe penalty handed out by the MRP since it was introduced in 2005, just trumping former Sydney forward Barry Hall's seven weeks for knocking out West Coast's Brent Staker earlier in the same season.

There hasn't been an incident as ugly as Solomon's since, but the anger between Geelong and Fremantle is still visible, even to the casual observer.

It could be seen when Geelong's Matthew Scarlett punched Dockers forward Hayden Ballantyne in the face in 2012, attracting a three-week suspension.

It could be seen when Ballantyne was handed two weeks for striking Paul Chapman behind play in the same game.

And it could be seen when the two sides met at Patersons Stadium in round nine this year, when Steve Johnson was given one week for headbutting tagger and long-time nemesis Ryan Crowley.

Both sides enter tomorrow night's game in the top four and their desperation to remain there with a month left in the regular season is likely to see emotions again run high at Simonds Stadium.

Cats coach Scott denied the rivalry played a part in the club's preparation, but said it would no doubt be on the mind of some individuals.

"Things that have happened in the past are good fodder for the media and the supporters," he said.

"Maybe it adds a bit of extra spice for them. But, can I tell you, it makes no difference to us.

"Maybe some of them will get a little bit of extra satisfaction if they can get the result. Maybe it'll hurt a bit more if they don't get the result.

"But in terms of the preparation, my view is that if you're going in with the old-school approach that we owe these blokes, you're not focusing on what you need to do in the moment."

Johnson has been at the centre of the conflict in the past two encounters between the sides, with both Zac Clarke and Chris Mayne attracting reprimands for striking the mercurial Norm Smith medallist.

James Kelly is the only player to be cited twice, both in 2012. Tendai Mzungu was the victim on both occasions.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

More from The West