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Serong marks on wing
Serong marks (file photo / AFANA)

The Fremantle Dockers overwhelmed the Brisbane Lions to register a gutsy win against the shocked Brisbane Lions. The win comes at a cost of three injuries to the Dockers but fueled their self-belief as their undermanned team held off the Lions. The Lions started with a hot opening quarter and appeared determined to atone for their shock loss to Carlton in Brisbane. Forwards Eric Hipwood and Joe Daniher were mobile and flying for Brisbane early. Hipwood had a mark and goal within three minutes of the opening bounce. Their midfielders Josh Dunkley, Hugh McCluggage, Jarrod Berry, and Cam Rayner kept the ball alive with repeated entries into the Brisbane forward line. The flustered Dockers fumbled the ball early and brain fades gave away two easy goals to Brisbane, to send shivers through the partisan home crowd.

When Zac Bailey booted their fourth goal after a turnover from yet another wayward Docker kick, it looked very much a game between last year's second-best team against last year's fourteenth placed team. Alex Pearce and Luke Ryan became a steadying factor in the Dockers' defense and the Docker midfielders Caleb Serong, Andrew Brayshaw, and Nat Fyfe lifted their work rates to shut down the feed to the Brisbane forward line. Even though the midfield battle had evened, the Dockers continued to butcher their attacking entries through poor kicking. After twenty-seven minutes of inept play, the Dockers made a tentative foray from defense which resulted in Bailey Banfield gathering a ball in a pack and kicking truly. Two minutes later a perfect stoppage tap from Luke Jackson found Sam Switkowski who kicked the Dockers' second goal on the siren.

Amiss Shoots
Jye Amiss (file photo / AFANA)

Brisbane was expected to re-assert themselves in the second quarter, but it didn't happen. The Dockers took control of the midfield as they booted five unanswered goals to hold Brisbane to just two points for the quarter. The big bodies of Nat Fyfe, Hayden Young, and Luke Jackson at stoppages kept the smaller Brisbane midfielders under pressure. Oscar McInerney rucked well for the Lions, but the Dockers through Serong and Brayshaw, dominated the clearances. Tall players Jackson and Josh Treacy troubled the Brisbane defenders. Although Harris Andrews took some good marks (catches) in the Brisbane defense, he was overwhelmed as Jackson, Treacy and Jye Amiss (two goals) presented strongly and kept the scoreboard ticking over. The Brisbane midfielders could not find space or time with the Dockers' relentless tackling and pressure around the ball.

The Dockers offered more of the same in the third quarter. Brisbane lacked composure and their ball delivery deteriorated under the relentless pressure around the ball applied by the Dockers. By the six-minute mark Brennan Cox had booted the Dockers eighth unanswered goal for the match. Finally, fifteen minutes into the quarter, a quick transition from defense resulted in a Daniher mark and a goal for Brisbane. Then disaster hit the Dockers with injuries to Karl Worner, Oscar McDonald, and Brennan Cox. The Docker dominance slowed until the 25-minute mark when emerging forward Jye Amiss added his third goal followed by two from a hard-working Josh Treacy.

afl grand final
Joe Daniher (file photo AFANA)

The Lions roared early in the final stanza with successive goals to Hipwood and Lincoln McCarthy. Jackson had more in the tank than McInerney and dominated in the ruck against his taller opponent. Young, Serong, and Brayshaw dominated the clearances, leaving Rayner, McCluggage, Berry, and Jarryd Lyons non-plussed. The Lions couldn't get past Ryan and Pearce who dominated in the Dockers' defense. In addition, Jordan Clark with James Aish provided plenty of run from the backline. A fourth goal to Jye Amiss and an explosive fifty-five meter (60 yards) "roof high" kick from Michael Frederick shut the gate on the Lions. The Lions booted three goals in junk time to take advantage of the exhausted Dockers and bring some respectability to the scoreline, but the result was never in doubt.

The Lions have a bye next week to lick their wounds, before a Grand Final rematch against the Collingwood Magpies in round three at the MCG. The Magpies, like the Lions have lost two games, but face St Kilda next week, so may find their mojo before they meet the Lions. Either way, a clash between the two 2023 heavyweights will not be a match to be missed. The Dockers travel cross-country to Marvel Stadium in Melbourne to play the North Melbourne Kangaroos next week. The Dockers' injury list perhaps gives the struggling Kangaroos a realistic chance.

Fremantle Dockers: 2.2 7.5 11.9 14.9  (93)
Brisbane Lions:    4.3 4.5  5.7 10.10 (70)

Fremantle Dockers: Serong, Ryan, Brayshaw, Jackson, Young
Brisbane Lions:    Dunkley, Daniher, Andres, McCluggage, Lyons


Article last changed on Wednesday, March 20, 2024 - 9:45 AM EDT


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