The Fremantle Dockers dominated the West Coast Eagles to give the Eagles their worst thrashing in a Western Derby. In a year where the Eagles have already run up a number of "worsts", they suffered their fifth defeat by more than 100 points. The Dockers, on on the other hand, continued with their strong end-of-year form, in a season which would be rated as a disappointment for the young team. Despite having a couple of late withdrawals due to illness the Eagles started strongly and had made eleven forward entries to their oppositions two by the nineteen-minute mark of the first quarter. After five minutes of early play where defenses held sway, Josh Rotham kicked long to Oscar Allen who took a well-judged mark (catch) against Alex Pearce in the goal square. Allen's goal inspired West Coast and three minutes later Tim Kelly received a handpass to kick on the run from forty-six metres to have the Eagles thirteen points up. The Eagles continued to win clearances and dominate the first quarter, but didn't get value for the forward entries.
After withstanding the early attacks, Fremantle finally got some system into their play. Their players ran to contests to outnumber the Eagles whenever the ball hit the ground. Luke Jackson dominated at stoppages. If he wasn't winning taps he was winning clearances and showed impressive reflexes and agility for such a big player. The Dockers' physical attack on the ball lifted. Their first goal came from emerging midfielder Matthew Johnson, who gathered a loose ball, outran two tacklers and dodged Xavier O'Neil to snap accurately from forty-nine meters. Jackson cleared from the center at the next bounce, where the ball was kicked long by Corey Wagner to a marking contest, where Lachie Schultz gathered the crumbs and kicked truly. Jackson then won the restart by tapping to Jaegar O'Meara who kicked long into attack. Sam Sturt gathered the crumbs from a marking contest close to goal and snapped the Dockers' third goal in what was a total of just 46 seconds of actual playing time. The Eagles defense worked overtime with Alex Witherden being their most effective defender. The Dockers dominated, racking up more forward entries and more goals in the time-on period, than the Eagles had done for the first nineteen minutes.
The domination continued in the second quarter. After two minutes of play, Jackson marked a pass from Michael Walters to kick the Dockers sixth goal. Both midfields lifted for the next seven minutes, with most attacks being stopped before they could enter the respective attacking fifty metre arcs. Poor clearance kicking and good reading of the play by the defenders led to an interesting arm wrestle as West Coast tried to re-assert themselves via Tim Kelly and Bailey J Williams. West Coast's height in the midfield briefly troubled the smaller Docker midfielders. The Dockers contested strongly at stoppages and won most clearances through Jackson, Caleb Serong, and Andrew Brayshaw. When the Dockers got the ball in their forward line, their tackling pressure was elite and the Eagles defenders were swamped. At the eleven minute mark a forward zone turnover led to Schultz handballing to the pacey Michael Frederick who goaled from thirty meters. The Dockers won the next center bounce and Jaye Amiss gathered a loose ball from a marking contest to snap his second goal. The Eagles managed two more attacks for the quarter but were let down by Noah Long's kicking, who could only score two behinds (worth a point each). The Dockers finished a productive quarter by adding three more goals, one to Walters and two to the rampant Shultz.
The Dockers totally dominated the third quarter. They locked the ball in their forward line for eighty percent of the stanza. They dominated clearances and scored regularly as they out-ran, and out-handballed the Eagles to control the game. The Dockers midfield kicking was elite. Schultz was a dynamo in attack and he was well supported by Sam Sturt and Jye Amiss, who were too mobile for their opponents. Elliot Yeo and Jeremy McGovern provided some resistance in defense for the Eagles, but with the tsunami of Fremantle attacks, they were but a minor irritation to the Dockers. The Dockers added seven goals, with most of them coming from their stoppage dominance and their ability to use handpass to weave past the Eagle defenders. The Dockers had scored seventeen consecutive goals since the Eagles' last goal in the first quarter.
The only interest left in the match as the final quarter began was whether the Eagles would stop the Dockers' run of goals. They did. After four minutes of play Andrew Gaff read the ball off hands to gather and snap from close range to bring up the Eagles' third. From there it was all Dockers again, as they slowed the game down, but still managed to cut through an almost stationary Eagles' defense for three more goals. With ten seconds to go Jamaine Jones centered a pass to Jack Williams, who marked close to goal. Williams' goal after the siren gave the Eagles their fourth, in a match where they were totally outclassed by a younger and more skilled team. Lachie Schultz was awarded his second derby medal (for best on ground).
Next week the Dockers remain at Optus Stadium to meet the Port Adelaide Power. The dispirited Eagles travel to Marvel Stadium to play the Western Bulldogs.
Scores West Coast Eagles: 2.2 2.5 2.6 4.9 (33) Fremantle Dockers: 4.4 10.8 17.11 20.14 (134) Best West Coast Eagles: Witherden, Kelly, Duggan, McGovern, Hewett Fremantle Dockers: Schultz, Brayshaw, Clark, Jackson, Serong
Article last changed on Wednesday, August 16, 2023 - 3:30 PM EDT