Fremantle Dockers midfielder Caleb Serong vows club will bounce back against Western Bulldogs

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Aaron KirbyThe West Australian
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Fremantle’s star midfielder Caleb Serong has vowed the Dockers will bounce back against the Western Bulldogs as three successive defeats threaten to derail their season.

The Dockers were left scratching their heads after a derby ambush saw West Coast smash the club’s stranglehold on the western derby after six attempts, compounding two heart-breaking losses against Carlton and Port Adelaide.

The discussion surrounding Fremantle has gone from whether they can crack the top four to whether they will even make finals, but Serong says the group still believe in their method and is eager to explode back into form in front of their home fans on Saturday night.

“We’re going to have our hands full, but we’re really looking forward to it; it’s a great opportunity for us to bounce back,” he told Triple M.

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“We feel like evidence over the first five weeks shows that we are a really good side and a really good contest side - on the weekend, we didn’t bring that, and we got shut up in that space.

“But we like to look at the evidence over the first five weeks, rather than one week.

“(The Bulldogs) had a couple of close losses as well against some good sides, so they’re playing some good footy. And then their midfield is going to be a challenge as well. They’ve always had a really strong midfield with Bonts and Libba, probably coming back this week as well.”

Fellow midfielder Hayden Young — who experienced derby failure for the first time last week — backed Serong’s stance, stating the group would not be “defined” by the 37-point defeat.

“Something we spoke about during the week was one poor game doesn’t define our season, or us as players,” he told 96FM Perth.

“Sometimes in footy, you just have those nights, and that’s why you can’t ride that roller-coaster; you’ve just got to move on and get back on the horse.

“We still have that belief which is really high. We’ve played five good games this year, and although we haven’t had as many good results go our way, we can’t let one poor performance derail us.

“We’re really eager to get back out there.”

Fremantle are hopeful of a boost with young rebound defender Heath Chapman a chance to return from his extended injury layoff.

The Dockers look on after the derby defeat.
Camera IconThe Dockers look on after the derby defeat. Credit: Will Russell/AFL Photos

“He’s had three weeks in the WAFL, it’s been looking really good,” Serong said.

“He’s one that I remember I spoke about throughout the preseason, and I was excited about what he could do this year - he’s a weapon.

“He’s an extremely good character as well. An extremely calm head and someone that brings a lot of excitement. The boys absolutely love playing with him, so if he’s back this week, the boys get a massive lift, that’s for sure.”

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