Lions don't want to be Freo's next scalp

·2-min read

Brisbane coach Chris Fagan is wary Fremantle will be hungry to claim another big "scalp" when the teams lock horns at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

Fremantle have rocketed into premiership contention on the back of their hot 8-3 start to the season.

The Dockers' round-seven win over Geelong at the Cattery put them on the map, and they threw the flag race wide open with last week's 38-point win over Melbourne at the MCG.

The Lions entered the round in second spot following their own stunning 9-2 start to the year.

Fagan has no doubt Fremantle will come hard at his team in a bid to further strengthen their premiership credentials.

"They're obviously on the up and buoyant after doing to Melbourne what no one has been able to do for 17 games," Fagan said.

"That will give them a lot of confidence, and I'm sure they're looking forward to trying to take another scalp.

"They got Geelong down at Geelong and also Melbourne, and they'll look at us and go, 'well there's another chance to get a team that's in the top eight at the moment'. They'll be highly motivated."

Sunday's game pits the best defensive team against the best attacking team.

Fremantle are conceding a league-low 60.4 points per game this season, while Brisbane are averaging a league-high 106.8 points per game.

Fagan says despite both teams boasting clear strengths, the key aspect of the game will be fought out in the contested ball.

Fremantle's contested beast - skipper Nat Fyfe - won't be there after the Dockers decided he would be best served by returning in the WAFL.

Fyfe hasn't played all year due to shoulder and back surgeries and he will line up for WAFL side Peel Thunder on Saturday.

If all goes to plan, Fyfe will make his AFL return against Hawthorn next week.

Surprisingly, Fagan says he would have preferred Fyfe playing against Brisbane on Sunday.

"We always like to play the best version of the opposition teams," Fagan said.

"If he had have played, it would have been good for us."

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir will consider giving James Aish a tagging job on star Lions midfielder Lachie Neale.

Aish quelled Melbourne star Clayton Oliver in the second half last week in a tactical move that proved critical in Fremantle's shock win.

Fremantle were dealt a triple blow this week when Michael Walters (hamstring), Matt Taberner (back) and Heath Chapman (hamstring) were ruled out against the Lions.

The Lions have been bolstered by the return of midfielder Hugh McCluggage.

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