Sport Young Dockers eyeing AFL finals berth

07:43  03 august  2021
07:43  03 august  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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Belief is growing among Fremantle's young brigade that not only is an AFL finals berth achievable this season, but that they can also do some damage in September.

a woman holding a football ball: Hayden Young (l) celebrates Matt Taberner's goal for Fremantle in their AFL win over Richmond. © Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS Hayden Young (l) celebrates Matt Taberner's goal for Fremantle in their AFL win over Richmond.

A tense four-point win over Richmond last weekend gave the Dockers a shot of confidence and lifted them to eighth spot with just three rounds remaining in the home-and-away campaign.

Fremantle host sixth-placed Brisbane at Optus Stadium on Sunday before a derby meeting with bogey side West Coast and an away trip to face St Kilda.

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Wins in two of those games could be enough to secure the Dockers a finals berth for the first time since 2015.

"At the moment our focus is Brisbane this week because if we don't beat them we're not going to make finals," defender Hayden Young said on Tuesday.

"We've just got to keep taking it week by week and focusing on just winning.

"But it (finals) definitely is in the back of our minds and we have a strong belief that we're good enough to make it and good enough to contend if we do.

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"We're going to keep taking that belief into each week we play."

Young and fellow emerging stars Andrew Brayshaw, Adam Cerra, Caleb Serong and Sean Darcy were at the forefront of the Dockers' thrilling win over Richmond.

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In his 10th senior game, silky-skilled Young tallied 23 disposals and nine intercept possessions, and was rewarded with a Rising Star nomination.

"I've been in a few tight ones where it's gone the other way so it was great that we could stand up when the game was on the line," Young said.

"It definitely instils a lot of confidence and belief in the group that we are capable of matching it against senior teams and good teams."

One of three top-10 draft picks by Fremantle at the end of 2019, Young played the first six matches of his debut season before being sidelined with a serious ankle injury.

The 20-year-old missed three months this season with a high-grade hamstring injury and credited the Dockers' strength and conditioning staff for getting him back on the park.

"I spent a couple of weeks in the WAFL (last month), which I really enjoyed, and I feel like my body's adapted really well to coming back and playing AFL footy," Young said.

"I'm really happy with how it's going at the moment and hopefully it holds it together."

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