The Fremantle Dockers finished full of running to defeat the GWS Giants in a game that pulsated for three quarters. The Dockers relied on pace to sweep the ball into attack with quick transitions from defense. The Giants played a more traditional game of kicking long to their two tall forwards Harry Himmelberg and Jesse Hogan. The Giants kept themselves in the game with accurate kicking for goal, while the Dockers wasted early opportunities by either kicking behinds (worth a point each) or kicking the ball out of bounds when shooting for goal.
In the first quarter the Docker defenders Griffin Logue and Brennan Cox concentrated on punching the ball out of the hands of the tall Giant forwards. The small Giant forwards Bobby Hill and Stephen Coniglio were outpaced and out positioned by the Dockers’ pacy James Aish and Heath Chapman, with Jordan Clark providing the Dockers additional run through the middle of the ground. The Giants used Lachie Ash to shadow the Dockers’ playmaker Andrew Brayshaw. This kept Brayshaw relatively quiet in the first half, but also robbed the Giants of a creative attacker as Ash was played defensively and center man Callan Ward did not have the sped to go with Clark. Former Gold Coast player, Will Brodie escaped attention and played his best game for the Dockers and their acting captain, David Mundy, got better as the game progressed.
Preuss had the better of Dockers’ ruckman Sean Darcy but the clearances from center bounceowns and stoppages were split evenly, with the Giants having perhaps a slight advantage in the first half. Youngster Tom Green and Tim Taranto worked well together to push the ball out of the center for the Giants. Lachie Whitfield also combined well in the midfield to initiate Giant attacks. With Hogan and Himmelberg both booting two goals each before the main break, it seemed that it was just a matter of time before one of them cut loose and punish the Dockers for early inaccuracy.
After half time, the Docker midfielders increased the pressure on the Giant ball carriers and the delivery into the Giants’ forward line was less precise, making it easier for the Docker defenders to take intercept marks. Although, when the Dockers’ midfielders attacked, they too were under pressure. The Giants’ defenders Isaac Cumming and Harry Perryman picked up plenty of possessions in a game where defenders ruled.
Tom Green started the third quarter on fire with two excellent goals, to give the Giants the lead for the fourth time in the match. Unfortunately, Green’s clumsy celebrations after his second goal, resulted in a free kick, which led to a goal to Travis Colyer. (The free kick was taken in the center of the ground, in place of the usual after-goal bouncedown, as the infringement occurred while the ball was being returned to the center of the ground.)
The Dockers locked play into their attacking zone through strong tackling pressure, particularly by their small forwards Sam Switkowski and Lachie Schultz. However, poor shooting only gave the home side three consecutive behinds. The Giants then broke the shackles with a quick transition into attack and Matt de Boer‘s goal brought the Giants to within two points at the final change.
The final stanza began with a gripping eleven-minute struggle and the Giants crept one point closer. The Dockers finally straightened their goal kicking to boot six straight, while the Giants could only manage three behinds. The finish pleased the home team supporters but was almost an anti-climax to a game that had been an engrossing and dour struggle for three and a half quarters.
Next week the Giants meet the reigning premiers, the Melbourne Demons at the MCG. The Giants are a better team than their ladder position suggests, but a win against the undefeated Demons seems unlikely. Fremantle meet the Essendon Bombers at Marvel Stadium, in a game where the proud Bombers will start favorites.
Scores Fremantle Dockers: 3.5 5.7 7.10 13.10 (88) GWS Giants: 2.1 5.1 8.2 8.6 (54) Best Fremantle Dockers: Brodie, Mundy, Brayshaw, Chapman, Ryan GWS Giants: Tarranto, Cumming, Green, Whitfield, Ward
Article last changed on Wednesday, April 13, 2022 - 7:30 AM EDT