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Rick Browner reporting from Perth for AFANA

Nathan Buckley’s prediction that it would be a good thing for Collingwood to meet the Dockers in Round 1 while they were still underdone came back to haunt him in the first game of the season at Etihad Stadium. Fremantle shrugged off its preseason lethargy for the encounter and outplayed the Magpies in all areas of the game, handing Buckley his worst defeat as coach of the Magpies.

From the way the game started, a tight contest looked likely. Fremantle players seemed unsure of themselves in the face of some fierce and unrelenting tackling by the Pies. They made mistakes handling the ball and missed what should have been straight forward play executions as they tried to move the ball through the center of the ground. Collingwood players looked more determined, direct and full of confidence.

Around the three minute mark of the second quarter the momentum changed and it was as if someone had flicked the “let’s get going” switch as the Dockers proceeded to feast on Magpies all over the ground. Led by a powerful midfield display and some miserly defense, the Dockers piled on the goals to the tune of six unanswered goals in the quarter. Collingwood was let down by some woeful kicking at goals and managed only four behinds for their efforts. Although below his best, Dane Swan was tireless in his work rate but lacked help from his teammates in making a contest. Hayden Ballantyne was at his best, kicking a goal from a freakish snap over his shoulder with his left foot.

It was effectively all over for the Pies when they could not convert chances to keep them within striking distance of Fremantle. Inaccuracy at critical times when a goal or two would have brought the margin back to manageable proportions cost the Pies dearly. As it was, they went a full sixty minutes of play between goals, kicking five points in the meantime. At one stage Fremantle had kicked twelve unanswered goals to finish off the Pies well and truly before the final siren.

Fremantle looks to have caught the September spark early and will again be a hard team to beat. Collingwood should improve with the inclusion of a couple of key players, particularly the likes of Jesse White and Ben Reid, ruled out of this game by injury. Buckley might think twice about his pregame comments the next time Collingwood plays the Dockers.

Fremantle   2.3 8.7 14.10 17.14 (116)
Collingwood 2.4 2.8  3.10  5.16  (46)

Best Players:
Fremantle:     Fyfe, Sandilands, Mzungu, Ballantyne, Mundy, Pearce
Collingwood:   Pendlebury, Swan, Beams, Langdon

Article last changed on Saturday, March 15, 2014 - 9:02 PM EDT

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