The ease with which Fremantle disposed of Sydney in their preliminary final at Patersons Stadium on Saturday night is what would concern Hawthorn the most.

Ignore the 25-point margin - the Swans kicked six late goals to make the result respectable.

The Dockers had disposed of the reigning premier by half-time, to win their way to their first grand final in since joining the AFL 19 years ago.

The Hawks, who limped in to the premiership play-off on Friday night with a five-point win over Geelong at the MCG, would have hoped for more from the Swans.

And coach John Longmire would have hoped for more from the Swans.

The statistics will show that Sydney put up a greater fight in the second half, winning the second half by 14 points, but it was certainly a case of too little, too late.

But with seven players from their 2012 premiership winning side missing, it was always going to be a big challenge.

And with the likes of Adam Goodes, Sam Reid and Kurt Tippett among those, Sydney was lucky to have still been in the contest at quarter-time. The signs were there though.

The Dockers led by eight points at the first change, but only because they wasted their opportunities. Being their first home preliminary final and only the second time they have made it to the penultimate round of action they can be excused for having some nerves.

But if they start that slowly against the Hawks on Saturday, it could be a long afternoon. Alastair Clarkson's Hawthorn won't be so accommodating.

The Hawks have also shown that they are better equipped to deal with the Dockers' forward press, which is something the Swans just couldn't handle.

Every time the Swans kicked the ball out of Fremantle's forward line, it came straight back with the next kick.

The Dockers will take close to their best side of the year in to the grand final and it showed what it is capable of.

Their dominance of Sydney started from the opening bounce, with David Mundy winning the first clearance of the game and captain Matthew Pavlich having a set shot for goal only seconds from the first siren. He missed and that set the tone for the term.

Fremantle had 95 touches to Sydney's 78 for the quarter and 17 inside 50s to the Swans' seven.

But the Dockers could not capitalise. They took eight marks inside their attacking 50 for the term, but put just 2.9 on the board.

It wasn't the Swans' pressure that was having an impact though, it was the moment.

The Dockers kicked 2.6 from set shots and it was their usually reliable goalkickers, Chris Mayne and Michael Walters, who faltered.

If 43,249 home fans can give a side the jitters, what is 90,000-plus at the MCG going to do?

Walters did recover, though, to finish with three goals.

The Swans' two goals in the opening term were not the result of impressive set passages of play either. Their first goal came through a rare minute of play when they had a couple of consecutive entries into the 50. But both were quick snaps on goal, from Lewis Jetta (through traffic) and Harry Cunningham (to an open forward line).

Then everything clicked for the Dockers after the first break.

Pavlich's mark and goal three minutes into the second term took the margin to 15 points and was the first of five consecutive majors for Fremantle.

In defence, Luke McPharlin and All-Australian Michel Johnson were in control. Saturday night was the first time they had played alongside one another since round 15.

McPharlin pulled out of the round-eight clash against Hawthorn in Launceston when the Hawks kicked away to a 30-point quarter-time lead and won by 42 points.

Missing from the Dockers side that day too were Pavlich and ruck pair Zac Clarke and Aaron Sandilands.

As is expected from a Ross Lyon-coached side, the defensive effort was provided by everyone.

The Swans went inside their 50 on 14 occasions in the second term, but when Jesse White marked and kicked a behind one minute before the siren, it was their first score for the quarter. Actually, it was the first time they had a possession inside 50 since quarter-time.

Key Swans just couldn't get their hands on the ball.

Ryan Crowley had kept Kieren Jack to just five touches when the Docker marked and used his seventh possession at the six-minute mark of the second term to kick a goal and take the margin to 21 points.

It was difficult to find a player wearing a red and white jumper who won in his position when the game was in doubt.

With the margin at 43 points at the last break, Jude Bolton (in his last game) had seen the ball just four times, while Daniel Hannebery (eight) and Ryan O'Keefe (10) were also struggling to have an impact.