AFL finals on the line for Bulldogs

The Western Bulldogs are in the box seat to secure the final spot available in the AFL finals.
The Western Bulldogs are in the box seat to secure the final spot available in the AFL finals.

Fremantle coach Justin Longmuir says the chance to end the Western Bulldogs' finals hopes won't be a motivating factor in Sunday's AFL clash at Cazaly's Stadium.

The Bulldogs slipped to ninth following Melbourne's win over Essendon on Saturday.

But if the Bulldogs can secure a win or a draw against Fremantle, they will leapfrog Melbourne back into the top eight.

The Dockers (7-9) are already out of finals contention, but bringing a team down with them won't be a motivating factor.

"No, we haven't spoken about that at all. We've spoken about the motivation of playing for the jumper," Longmuir said.

"I don't necessarily believe in those external motivators, I don't think they last too long.

"I think you'll gain more benefit out of the internal motivators of focusing inwards. We've done that this week."

Star Fremantle veteran Michael Walters will miss Sunday's match with a foot injury, while defender Tobe Watson has been dropped.

Liam Henry and Reece Conca come back into the side.

The Bulldogs recalled fit-again defender Easton Wood and Patrick Lipinski.

Toby McLean and Matt Suckling were forced out through injury.

Longmuir said Sunday's match would be like an elimination final for the Bulldogs and he's preparing for them to come out firing.

But the Dockers are also desperate for victory to make further gains in what is turning into a winning culture.

Fremantle have won five of their past eight games to announce themselves as a team on the rise.

The hot form of youngsters Caleb Serong, Andrew Brayshaw, Adam Cerra and Brennan Cox bodes well for the future.

Fremantle have beaten finals-bound teams St Kilda and Collingwood and they almost toppled Brisbane in round two.

Longmuir feels his team could have done some damage if they had sneaked into the finals this year.

"We've beaten some teams in the eight, we've been competitive against sides above us," Longmuir said.

"I think our form is really competitive at the moment. We've improved week in, week out.

"I'd like to think if we had made it, we could have ruffled some feathers."

Longmuir said first-year midfielder Serong, who has averaged 16.2 disposals and 3.5 clearances per game this year while also tagging some of the competition's best players, should win the Rising Star award.

Australian Associated Press