Dockers heed harsh lessons, upbeat for WA derby

Fremantle are full of confidence heading into the Western Derby against cross-town rivals West Coast despite a pair of heartbreaking defeats in South Australia, midfielder Hayden Young says.

The Dockers opened the season with three straight wins but are in danger of undoing their good work after coughing up late goals in consecutive losses to Carlton and Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval.

They enter the derby cauldron in round six against an Eagles side buoyed by their first win of the season, against Richmond last Sunday.

Fremantle could be boosted by the return of No.1 ruckman Sean Darcy from a knee injury and will start warm favourites in a designated away game at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.

"The footy that we're playing at the moment gives us a lot of confidence and we certainly aren't feeling any pressure," Young told reporters on Monday.

"One thing that we spoke about during the week is we can't get caught up in wins and losses.

"You've just got to look at what you're doing on the field in terms of the brand and the system that we're playing.

Sean Darcy.
Sean Darcy (L) could be set for his long-awaited return in the derby.

"It's a long season and we're five rounds in. If we keep playing that sort of footy, I'm sure we'll win more than we lose."

Fremantle threw away a nine-point lead with seven minutes left against Port Adelaide last Saturday night and lost to Carlton the previous week in Gather Round when they conceded two final-minute goals in controversial circumstances.

Young said the experiences would serve as valuable lessons.

"We want to be in those positions now early in the season so that we can learn from it," he said.

"To go all the way you're going to have to learn from these hard lessons.

"It's not going to be sunshine and rainbows all the time.

"It's disappointing but we can take a lot of confidence out of those performances and hopefully learn a lot."

Darcy has not played since round 18 last season, when an ankle injury cut short his 2023 campaign.

But he is expected to be cleared to resume his partnership with versatile star Luke Jackson in the derby.

"Sean's a big unit and provides a lot of strength around the contest," Young said.

"He's a good stoppage player and he's really hard to move, whereas Luke is really dynamic at ground level.

"It also gives the opportunity for Luke to go down forward and provide an aerial threat, and we know how damaging he's been this year.

"So we look forward to having them both out there hopefully."

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