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Andrew Brayshaw (file photo)

The Hawthorn Hawks came to Optus Stadium as the underdogs but their game plan pushed the home team for most of the match. The Dockers had to work hard for the win as the Hawks applied heat around the ball and almost beat the Dockers at their own game. Fremantle welcomed back captain Nat Fyfe after a ten-month absence due to injury.

Fyfe was in the action at the first bounce down, knocking the ball from the Hawk's Sam Mitchell, which was gathered by Caleb Serong who kicked long to tall forward Rory Lobb, who marked (caught the ball) and booted the opening goal for the Dockers after just thirty seconds of play. Despite Dockers' ruckman, Sean Darcy, having the better of Hawthorn's ruckman Ned Reeves, the Hawks were able to get movement away from stoppages through solid clearance work by Conor Nash and Jaeger O'Meara.

The Hawks' attack put the Docker defenders under unexpected pressure. The second Docker goal was worked from defense to the wing, where Darcy took a good mark and moved the ball forward quickly. Hawk defender Kyle Hartigan fumbled a mark and Griffin Logue pounced and handballed towards the Docker goals, where Travis Colyer completed a skillful volley-soccer inches from the goal line. From that point the Hawks largely controlled the clearances for that quarter and kept the ball locked in their forward line.

The Hawks' first goal came from a turnover in the center of the ground where a chain of handpasses finished with Mitchell, who put a perfect pass in front of Jacob Koschitzke, who marked and kicked truly from fifty meters. Three minutes later Daniel Howe marked a desperate clearing kick by Sean Darcy to kick truly from fifty meters, to register the Hawks' second goal. Two minutes later Jaeger O'Meara, who had been dominating in the midfield moved into the Hawks' forward line and drew a free kick to boot the Hawks' third. The Dockers kicked two more goals for the quarter through Bailey Banfield and Lachie Schultz, but these were against the stream of play. The Hawks had the ball locked in their forward line for the majority of the quarter. Goals from Dylan Moore and Chad Wingard kept the pressure on the home team at the first break.

The Dockers regained the lead early in the second quarter, when defender Brandon Walker pushed forward and kicked the first goal of his career. The Hawks kept the pressure on the Docker midfield and James Sicily was a clear winner in defense, along with the pacy Changkuoth Jiath who was dangerous with his dash. With Tom Mitchell winning clearances O'Meara, Newcombe, Wingard and Liam Shiels repeatedly worked the ball forward for the Hawks. If the Docker midfielders, James Aish, Nat Fyfe and Andrew Brayshaw got the ball, they were immediately under tackle pressure from the hard working O'Meara and Jai Newcombe who amassed nine tackles each throughout the match. Goals from Dylan Moore and Liam Shiels put the Hawks back in front.

The Dockers were being beaten by a team that was "out-Dockering" the Dockers. To add to the problems for the home side, the defensive pressure from the Hawks' forwards was stifling the Dockers' run out of defense. The Hawks focused on dominating the central corridor, creating turnovers which left the Docker defenders exposed. Hawthorn scored five goals from turnovers in the first half. The Docker's only goal for the quarter came from a deft Lachie Schultz snap. Luke Breust added to the Dockers' angst, just before the main break, with a clever piece of individual play to snap the final goal of the quarter.

Luke Breust evades Jake Stringer
Luke Breust (file photo)

Fremantle fought back in the third stanza, with Brayshaw and Serong getting on top in the middle of the ground, assisted by James Aish and Blake Acres. Nat Fyfe also stepped up his work rate in the center and also drifted to forward line. Will Brodie came to the party for the Dockers with his bustling and clearances in the heavy traffic. Fremantle regained their run and a coast-to-coast goal finished by Michael Walters, enlivened the home crowd as Fremantle surged.

The Hawks fought back with a long snap by Harry Morrison but it wasn't long before Acres and Banfield replied with one each to put more heat on the visitors. Acres snapped accurately from a stoppage near goals and then Banfield was on the end of a chain of possessions initiated by a Fyfe clearance at the next center bouncedown. The Hawks responded after a Jiath interception on the wing was followed by a Mitchell handpass to Newcombe who was hit by Banfield after Newcombe kicked to Wingard. Wingard received a relayed free kick and fifty-meter penalty to give the Hawks a much needed goal. The Dockers kept their running game alive and booted two goals courtesy of an Aish mark and set shot; and a Fyfe soccer from the goal square.

Tension built in the final quarter as Hawthorn refused to give up. Tom Mitchell, O'Meara and Daniel Howe pushed themselves to the limit as they drove Hawthorn into attack. A reward came after four minutes when Ned Reeves stood tall in a large pack in Hawthorn's goal square, to hold a mark and convert to bring the Hawks to within eight points. The defenses of both teams withstood alternate attacks for ten minutes until some wizardry from Michael Walters shot a handpass to Travis Colyer who booted a goal from forty meters. Two minutes later the Hawks were able to break through the Docker defense. In a moment of high drama Conor Nash marked twenty meters out for the Hawks, but missed the simplest of set shots to score only a behind (worth one point). The Hawks charged again and Luke Breust used his experience to milk a free kick in a one-on-one contest; and kicked truly to bring the visitors within six points with six minutes to play.

James Aish marks
James Aish (file photo)

Fittingly it was Andrew Brayshaw, with 37 possessions throughout the match, who kicked the sealer for the Dockers. In an act of creative genius, he used his body to shield a ground ball from Harry Morrison as he kicked with the side of his foot towards the goal. The ball tumbled across the line before the Hawk defenders could get to it; and the Dockers had a large enough lead to defend for five desperate minutes. The loss saw the thirteenth placed Hawks drop to fourteenth on the ladder, but they picked up a heap of respect in the process. The Hawks have a bye next week before meeting the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium on a Friday night. Fremantle who remain in third position, also have a bye, before meeting Carlton at Marvel Stadium a day later.

Fremantle Dockers: 4.3 6.6 12.9 14.11 (95)
Hawthorn Hawks:    5.0 8.4 10.7 12.10 (82)

Fremantle Dockers: Brayshaw, Acres, Serong, Young, Ryan, Cox
Hawthorn Hawks:    O'Meara, Mitchell, Howe, Sicily, Newcombe

Article last changed on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 - 10:23 PM EDT


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