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Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Domain Stadium, Perth

Fremantle secured the Minor Premiership (top position on the Ladder) for the first time in club history with a relatively easy win over the Melbourne Demons in the penultimate round of the home and away (regular) season.
The Dockers' ride to the Finals looked decidedly wobbly after they dropped their last two games and they needed to stamp their authority on this outing to secure the top rung. They did that well and truly with five first quarter goals, followed by another six in the second quarter before Melbourne scored their first for the match.

Melbourne players were swamped from the opening minutes with Matthew Pavlich kicking two goals. Even Garrick Ibbotson crept forward from his customary half back role and kicked his first goal for the year. With five on the board against them, the Demons lacked any penetration into their forward line and were content to chip the football sideways and backwards. The Dockers were putting on a clinic and were on track for a massive score. Jeff Garlett decided enough was enough and booted two goals late in the second quarter. Coupled with a goal apiece to Bernie Vince and Jack Watts, a semblance of respectability edged into the scoreline. At least the Demons had stopped the rot and were looking like putting up a bit of fight. Coach Roos had urged the Melbourne players to do that in the media this week and it appeared that they had heard the message.

Demons' skipper Nathan Jones was a victim of a turned ankle which was unfortunate for him in his 200th game. He was replaced before half time by Jack Grimes and sat out the rest of the game in a moon boot with crutches by his side. Melbourne picked up some momentum and kicked back to back goals, including one to Grimes fresh into the contest. Fremantle on the other hand became sloppy and made basic skill errors when trying to move the ball forward. Pavlich was put into cotton wool when he was substituted for Paul Duffield in the third quarter.  The Fremantle skipper missed last week’s game through injury and the coaching staff were obviously keen on resting him for the upcoming Finals campaign.

In the final quarter the Demons kicked a couple of quick goals but the game was over and the Dockers players were taking it easy with the hard work accomplished. There was a bad injury to Cameron Sutcliffe late in the game when he popped his shoulder in an attempt to spoil a mark. It was returned to its socket on the sidelines but his game was over. Fremantle finished strongly with three goals in a row to take their score over the psychological 100 point barrier.

Fremantle secured top spot with the win and now will have as many as three home Finals depending on the outcome of other games. With a full house of “Purple Army” fans every time they play at Domain Stadium, the Dockers will be a formidable opponent in the run to the Grand Final. Melbourne continues to languish in the bottom five teams and look likely to finish the season on a downturn.

Fremantle: 5.1 11.3 14.5 17.6 (108)
Melbourne: 0.1  4.2  6.5  8.6  (54)

Best Players
Fremantle: Mundy, D Pearce, Hill, Neale, Suban
Melbourne: Cross, Gawn, Viney, Grimes, Vince

Article last changed on Monday, August 31, 2015 - 12:37 PM EDT

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