The Collingwood Magpies were surprised by the Fremantle Dockers with a shock defeat at Optus Stadium. The Dockers were harder at the ball and used pace to outrun their more experienced opponents, and recorded their first genuine home victory in this unusual season. A first quarter where a team failed to score would normally have a coach ranting, but Justin Longmuir was impressed with how his young players handled their higher profile opponents. What the young Dockers lacked in skill was compensated with by endeavor. They were first to the ball and won more than their share of contested possessions. A team of hungry committed players will often defeat a better credentialled team, and the Dockers showed that if a team can get enough players to the ball, the chances of winning are increased. A bit of straight kicking also helps.
The first quarter was a game where defenders ruled. The pressure on the ball from both teams resulted in rushed attacks, where midfielders didn't have time to choose targets. Darcy Moore was outstanding for the Pies. His early contest with Nat Fyfe was one of the highlights of a very tight match. At the other end, Luke Ryan impersonated a brick wall as he repeatedly stopped Collingwood forward thrusts. The Pies went for the height of Darcy Cameron when moving forward, but he was well held by Brennan Cox. Perhaps it is time for the Pies to bring back the out of favor tall American, Mason Cox, to introduce some serious marking (catching) power in attack. When Nat Fyfe went forward for the Dockers, Collingwood defender Darcy Moore became his shadow, which took the heat off Matt Taberner who responded with goals. The Pies' star, Steele Sidebottom, was initially well held by an unlikely fullback in Reece Conca, but Sidebottom worked his way into the game, finding his feet and his "taste for leather" after returning from suspension for COVID-19 breaches. Brayden Sier snapped the Magpies' first goal after 18 minutes of pressured play.
A well-timed handball from Travis Colyer, set Matt Taberner up for the Dockers' first goal at the four-minute mark of the second quarter. The Magpies responded almost immediately, with Jamie Elliot using pace in the middle to gain room to pass to Brody Mihocek. Mihocek's set shot from 55 meters was a classic. The small attacker, Lachie Schulz, then used similar pace to give himself time to craft a clever rolling snap from 40 meters. Taberner bobbed up again, five minutes later, with a good mark to boot his second goal for the Dockers. Collingwood's wheels wobbled when two players in succession mistimed leaps for marks and set their smaller Docker opponents free. The ball flew down to Brandon Matera who passed to Schulz, who marked and slotted his second, which put the Dockers in front at halftime.
A shower of rain during the long break made things slippery at the start of the third quarter. A puzzling free kick to Jack Magden allowed him to pass to Brodie Grundy, who opened the Magpies' third quarter scoring. Grundy played an effective game as ruckman, but he was prevented from dominating the game by the bulking physical presence of the Dockers' ruckman Sean Darcy. In the slippery conditions, the Dockers played good wet weather football, seeking territory rather than clean possessions. A miskick by Darcy Moore gifted a goal to the Dockers' returning small man, Mitch Crowden. Then a pass from Crowden to captain Nat Fyfe gave the Dockers their biggest lead, midway through the third quarter. Collingwood responded with classy goals to Will Hoskin-Elliot, Steel Sidebottom, and Jaidyn Stephenson to put the Magpies in front at the final break.
The move of Rory Lobb to the ruck gave the Dockers a crucial early center clearance, which ended with Crowden riding a bump and snapping his second goal, to put the Dockers back in front.
Two more goals to Taberner gave the Dockers some breathing space, but at the 21-minute mark Sidebottom kicked truly to bring the Magpies within one goal of the home team. The Dockers defended for five frenetic minutes. Just before the siren, a free kick awarded to Docker veteran, David Mundy, sunk the Pies hopes of victory. Mundy's set shot, taken after the siren, registered a goal and added further to Collingwood's misery.
The Magpies leave the Perth hub with just one win from three games and now sit just outside the top eight. They have a five-day break before returning to their next temporary nest in Queensland and meet the floundering Sydney Swans at the Gabba in Brisbane. The Dockers have a bye which results in an eight-day break, before meeting the Hawthorn Hawks at Optus Stadium.
Scores Fremantle Dockers: 0.0 4.1 6.1 10.1 (61) Collingwood Magpies: 1.2 2.4 6.5 7.7 (49) Best Fremantle Dockers: Ryan, Serong, Fyfe, Mundy, Taberner Collingwood Magpies: Treloar, Sidebottom, Moore, Maynard, Crisp
Article last changed on Monday, August 03, 2020 - 12:26 PM EDT