Beasley expects Fremantle to defy the odds
Simon Beasley. Pic: Getty Images

Former goal-kicking champion Simon Beasley has declared Fremantle the dark horses of the finals series, saying they could win interstate in the first week of September for the third year in a row.

The Dockers finished the home-and-away season in fourth spot and will travel to play Sydney on Saturday afternoon.

It is the third year in a row that Fremantle will have ventured interstate for the first week of the finals.

They beat Geelong at the MCG in 2012 and then stunned the Cats at Simonds Stadium last year to earn a home preliminary final. Beasley said the memory of losing last year's grand final would still be burning.

"I think Fremantle have got a lot to prove," Beasley said.

"They're in a good position. I think they'll be very competitive against Sydney. You need a dominant ruckman and Sandilands is the man. I really think Fremantle are the dark horse.

"Everyone is saying Hawthorn and Sydney, but I'm a bit in the Fremantle camp myself.

"The Dockers have got a lot to go after this year. Last year they just fell short. A team like that, you have to lose one grand final maybe. I think it's a big thing."

Fremantle haven't played at ANZ Stadium since losing the 2006 preliminary final. But the Swans haven't enjoyed playing at the ground and have a 3-4 record there since winning the 2012 premiership.

They have won 14 of their 17 games at the SCG in the same time. ANZ Stadium is 5m longer than the SCG, but 18m narrower. Beasley believes Fremantle will enjoy those dimensions.

"I don't think the ground will hold any fears and Sydney's form has been a bit patchy compared to the SCG," Beasley said.

"I think it will suit Fremantle. They're playing good footy and come right at the end of the season. They're very competitive and Ross Lyon has them firing."

The AFL yesterday announced that Beasley would present this year's Coleman Medal to Lance Franklin (67 goals).

Beasley kicked 575 goals for Footscray and won the 1985 Coleman Medal with 105 majors.

Former North Melbourne star Glenn Archer will present the Norm Smith Medal and dual Hawthorn premiership coach Alan Joyce will deliver the Jock McHale Medal to the winning grand final coach.

International recording stars Ed Sheeran and Tom Jones will sing before and after the grand final, Olivia Newton-John will perform the national anthem and Mike Brady will sing Up There Cazaly.

The West Australian

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