In a hot autumn afternoon when the mercury sat at 89 degrees as the game opened, the Greater Western Sydney Giants wilted and allowed the Fremantle Dockers to run out easy winners. It was only the Dockers’ kicking inaccuracy that saved the Giants from a complete belting. To make matters worse this was the first time since 2013 that the Giants have lost their two opening games. The Giants started with strong intent in an opening spurt, which saw Jacob Hopper swoop on a loose ball and kick truly to open the Giants’ account within the first minute of play. However, from there it was the Dockers who got players to the contested ball to outnumber the Giants in packs. The Dockers won contested possessions 145 to 113 and then outran the Giants in open space to rack up 278 uncontested possessions to 113. The Giants simply did not have the desire to work hard in close and appeared not to have the will to run with the Dockers when the ball found open territory. Andrew Brayshaw booted the Dockers’ first goal at the five-minute mark, which set the scene for the home team to dominate for the rest of the opening quarter. Small forward Lachie Schultz and Sam Switkowski booted a goal each, either side of tall forward Matt Taberner’s first goal. Michael Frederick was busy across half-forward for the Dockers and the Gants had no one who could match his pace and stamina.
The second quarter became an arm wrestle after Nat Fyfe booted the Dockers fifth goal at the six-minute mark. The teams traded points until half-time with several players suffering cramp and struggling in the heat. The Dockers dominated the midfield with veteran David Mundy running up a game high 35 possessions and young tyros Andrew Brayshaw and Adam Cerra running rampant with 32 and 28 possessions, respectively. The Giants backs were under siege and defenders Harry Perryman and Isaac Cumming were the only Giants to collect serious possessions at 26 and 24 each respectively for the match. The Giants' stars, Tim Taranto and Stephen Coniglio battled hard the middle of the ground, but they were overrun by the younger Docker midfielders. Matt Flynn battled manfully in the ruck for the Giants but was overcome by the combined work of fellow second gamer, Lloyd Meek and the Dockers returning ruckman, Sean Darcy.
The Giants opened the third quarter with a goal to Harry Himmelberg, who received a clever chip from Bobby Hill who showed genuine pace and composure when he sprinted into attack from the wing. The Dockers then dominated the ball for much of the quarter with goals to Taberner, Switkowski, and Frederick. The Giants were gone and would have been completely buried if the Dockers had kicked straighter for goal. Docker captain Nat Fyfe was concussed late in the quarter by a bump from Sam Reid. Fyfe became the first player to subbed out of the game under the new concussion rule. Fyfe will not play for a a minimum of 12 days and Reid probably will be suspended for three matches. A late goal by Himmelberg gave some joy to the Giants but by then their energy had been sapped and the Dockers were out of reach.
The final quarter was junk time. The Dockers eased the pressure after seven minutes of scoring points and Zach Sproule and Toby Greene took advantage of the more open play to boot two each to bring the Giants closer to the Dockers. A final goal to Schultz helped the Dockers’ percentage (calculated by points for against points against) and reminded the Docker supporters that they had something to celebrate at the end of a very warm day.
Next week the Dockers meet Carlton at Marvel Stadium. The Giants will meet the Melbourne Demons at Manuka Oval in Canberra. For the Giants, the game is a "must win".
Scores Fremantle: 4.6 5.12 9.16 11.21 (87) GWS: 1.5 1.9 3.12 7.14 (56) Best Fremantle: Mundy, Brayshaw, Cerra, Ryan, Schultz GWS: Perryman, Toby Greene, Himmelberg, Cumming, Taranto
Article last changed on Monday, March 29, 2021 - 10:24 AM EDT