Dockers keen to sink hooks into leaders

AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL ? PERTH ? A new-found confidence has emerged down Fremantle way and the Dockers will test themselves against arch-rival and AFL front-runner West Coast at Subiaco Oval tonight.

A club record-equalling five straight wins has moved Fremantle into position to claim a finals berth and coach Chris Connolly is keen for the game to arrive so the club can strut its stuff on the Friday night stage.

At yesterday's pre-match press conference phrases such as "improving in all aspects'' and "planning for an exciting finish'' slipped effortlessly from Connolly's mouth.

The situation is in stark contrast to six weeks ago, when the club was seemingly lurching from one crisis to the next and Connolly was fighting to retain his job.

The winning streak has moved Fremantle into eighth with a 10-9 record but it still faces a tough task to make the finals, finishing its season against the Eagles and Saints at home and Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium. But Connolly clearly rates his side's chances.

The man who usually sticks rigidly to the one-game-at-a-time mantra has allowed himself a brief look forward and likes what he sees.

"At the moment we've got quite a healthy list, our conditioning's been planned for an exciting finish,'' Connolly said.

"We'd certainly like to be in a better position in terms of the ladder, but we're really looking forward to this game and the following two.''

While Connolly is excited about the future, he will be wary of an Eagles outfit that has topped the ladder virtually all season.

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