It was a pity that the only rain Perth had seen for many months happened to fall at the start of what could have been a closely fought contest had it been played in dry conditions. Rain bucketed down as the ball was bounced and turned the match into a scrambling and largely uninteresting display. The Gold Coast Suns were nothing if not determined to take the game right up to the Fremantle Dockers. Their fearless attack and swarming defense had the Dockers on the back foot in the opening stages. With the first two goals on the board for the Suns, they were off to a fast start. Fremantle eventually settled and - with the help of two unnecessary, undisciplined and ultimately costly 50 meter penalties - slotted the next four goals to start stamping some authority on the match.
Rain continued to fall causing the ball to show the properties of a large piece of soap as it slipped through hands and slid off the side of boots. Sam Day for the Suns had two goals on the board and was proving to be a handful for his opponents. The Dockers had their fair share of scoring opportunities but could only manage to score points, which was frustrating the kickers as well as the supporters.
Michael Barlow was the General for the Dockers and his outstanding work rate saw them gradually start to dominate the Suns. They too were wasteful in front of goals and could only manage two majors from thirty-nine entries into their forward 50 meter zone. The wet conditions resulted in heavy legs and tired players towards the end of the match but Stephen Hill still had some zip in his legs as he took off on one of his trademark bursts to score the goal that put the game out of the Suns’ reach. Gold Coast did manage a late consolation goal with minutes to go but the Dockers held sway by 48 points when the siren sounded.
Fremantle takes on Hawthorn next week in a replay of last year’s Grand Final. Gold Coast can hold their heads up, as they are finally on the stage as genuine contenders against the majority of teams, rather than an easy beat and a guaranteed four premiership points.
Scoreboard Fremantle: 4.1 5.5 8.9 12.15 (87) Gold Coast: 2.1 3.5 4.8 5.9 (39) Best Players Fremantle: Barlow, Sandilands, Mzungu, Mundy, Fyfe, Crowley Gold Coast: Ablett, Day, McKenzie, Swallow, Prestia
Article last changed on Monday, March 31, 2014 - 11:23 AM EDT