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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth

It wasn’t until the final quarter that the Fremantle Dockers put the screws into a win against a determined Brisbane Lions outfit in their Round 14 clash at Domain Stadium. The rain didn’t help with the standard of the match, but it did even up the contests between the
Big Men Fly
top team and the bottom team. When the sun came out and the showers waned after three quarter time the Dockers got to work and managed to do enough to defeat the gallant Lions.

Again the eastern states teams had done their homework on the Dockers. Fierce tackling and pressure on the ball carriers has uncovered a certain brittleness in the Fremantle game plan. The eponymous Lions lived up to their name and went at their opponents with an intensity that worried Fremantle. Although they had the first two goals kicked against them, Brisbane settled into the match and were very accurate in their kicking and strong in their marking in the greasy conditions. Nate Fyfe had a blanket thrown over him by Mitch Robinson and wasn’t having his usual influence on Fremantle’s forward movement. Rohan Bewick and Matthew Leuenberger kicked a goal apiece for Brisbane but it was the small forward Michael Walters who continued his accurate kicking and booted a couple in the first quarter for Fremantle to keep it close.

More rain fell and the game deteriorated into rugby union. There were scrums and rolling mauls everywhere and scoring opportunities were hard to come by. Fremantle had three opportunities to take the game away with kicks on goal, from very easy positions, which they managed to butcher. The Dockers were playing 81% of the match so far in their forward half but were only five points ahead. Brisbane’s defense was holding up manfully but one sensed it was only a matter of time before the d*ke walls were breached.

Both teams made their substitutions in the third quarter to get some fresh legs into the game. It was still torrid in the clutches and scoring was not easy. Brisbane players were still tackling with intent causing many stoppages and ball-ups by the umpires. The Lions were going one-on-one in defense and were matching the Dockers whenever a ball came into their vicinity. It was only one goal each in the third quarter, but the poor kicking on goal by Fremantle had them ahead on points.

With the cl
Respect
earing rain came the famed Fremantle “Blast”. Normally the Dockers try to execute "The Blast" in the first minutes of the game but this time they produced it in the final quarter. The Dockers began to dominate the center bounce clearances and their dominance soon turned into scoring opportunities. Matthew Pavlich, who was battling a stomach upset, still managed to kick two goals, and his teammates piled on another four to take the game out of Brisbane’s reach. To their credit Brisbane did not lay down and roll over and fought the game right to the end. Unfortunately the Lions only managed one goal for the term and went down by six goals.

At the end of the match the players gathered in the center - as players had in all Round 14 games - to stand for a minute's silence in a mark of respect to murdered Adelaide Crows senior coach Phil Walsh*. Walsh had played for Brisbane in the days of the Brisbane Bears and many players were clearly upset at his passing.


Scoreboard
Fremantle: 3.0 5.2 6.5 13.6 (84)
Brisbane:  3.2 5.2 6.2  7.6 (48)

Best Players
Fremantle: Walters, D. Pearce, Mundy, Spurr, Neale
Brisbane:  Leuenberger, Redden, Beams, Rich

* See Johnson Leung’s story about the circumstances of the tragedy
 

Article last changed on Monday, May 28, 2018 - 5:36 PM EDT


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