The Western Bulldogs survived early pressure from the Fremantle Dockers to overcome their young opponents and jump back into the top eight, at the expense of the Melbourne Demons. The Dogs had to beat the Dockers to make the finals and were the more desperate team as the game progressed. The Dockers' cause was not helped with the late withdrawal of their leading scorers, Matthew Taberner and Michael Walters due to injury. The Dockers were already missing four of their first-choice defenders, so a win against the desperate dogs was always against the odds.
The Fremantle Dockers recovered from a spirit sapping post-siren loss to Carlton last week to shut down the Sydney Swans. The Swans won their last match, against the Greater Western Sydney Giants with attacking play, and the Docker defenders were determined to close them down. The Docker defense, with their three best defenders in stands due to injury, was again the story of the night. Though this week the ending was more to the Docker fans' liking. Brennan Cox and Luke Ryan had 11 marks (catches) between them and when they couldn't mark, they spoiled their opponents marking chances. The two main Docker defenders were well supported by Nathan Wilson, Reece Conca and Ethan Hughes. The Swans made 43 attacking entries but were only able to boot two goals. At the other end of the field, the Docker forwards didn't have it all their own way either, managing just eight goals from 34 entries.
The Fremantle Dockers "out-hawked" the Hawthorn Hawks at Optus Stadium in a game that signaled the turning fortunes of the two teams. The young Dockers played a traditional Hawthorn game plan, hard at the contest when the ball was in dispute but controlling the tempo of the game when they had the ball in hand. The Dockers were patient in setting their attacks and used their plan of retaining possession and moving the ball across the ground, until an avenue of attack opened. It was a dour struggle between the backlines as the defenses for both teams held firm for most of the game. The difference between the two teams was the tenacity of the young Dockers' attack on the ball supported by their ferocious tackling.
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.
A powerful second quarter, in a deluge of biblical proportions, was enough for Port Adelaide to set up a commanding lead over the Fremantle Dockers. The young Dockers challenged Port in the first quarter but were easily pushed aside during the waterlogged second term. The bigger bodied Power played hard-nosed wet weather football and the Dockers watched. The bruised Dockers steadied in the clear conditions after halftime but were unable to make inroads on the Port lead.
The Dockers began the game with plenty of pluck, matching Port in the packs in the first quarter. Two goals to Matt Taberner and singles to Travis Colyer and Brandon Matera saw the Dockers lead by a goal at the first break. As the match progressed, the undermanned Dockers
Our top three on the AFANA AFL Power Poll all came through with wins this week, with Brisbane crushing the Suns, the Eagles defeating the Crows and Richmond too strong in the wet for the improving Carlton.
The Giants took a big hit on Friday night footy, registering a rare loss in Canberra while playing in even rarer conditions – snow! Yes, for the first time in a home and away AFL contest, snow fell at Manuka Oval in Canberra as Hawthorn gave the Giants a football lesson. Geelong took care of the Kangaroos in similar fashion, with Rhyce Shaw’s men managing just a single goal for the entire match.
The Brisbane Lions retain top spot on the AFANA AFL Power Poll this week, courtesy of win number seven in a row over a competitive Western Bulldogs outfit. The Eagles remain right on the Lions tail after an impressive road win against a resurgent Carlton, Richmond overcame a slow start to roll the Demons at the MCG and the Giants stayed hot with a win against crosstown rival Sydney.
Geelong once again stumbled, this time losing to an injury hit Fremantle at Optus Stadium, Essendon had its winning streak broken by an up again Port Adelaide, the Kangaroos took care of Hawthorn after a sluggish start and finally the Adelaide Crows showed some form to end Saint Kilda’s finals hopes at Adelaide Oval.
The reborn Carlton Blues shocked the Fremantle Dockers with a thrilling last gasp victory that left the Dockers vulnerable to dropping out of the top eight. The inspired Blues’ third win moved them from the bottom of the ladder and have now won two of their last three games. The Dockers have lost their last two games against teams sitting in the bottom three on the ladder and will rue their second quarter, where they allowed Carlton to dominate the game for long periods.
The improving Fremantle Dockers held Port Adelaide Power scoreless in the final term and raised questions about Port Adelaide’s ability to make the finals. The inconsistent Power have been on the road collecting frequent flyer points in recent weeks; where they lost to Hawthorn in Launceston, Tasmania and then won against the Saints in Shanghai, China. They came to Perth with confidence, having beaten the West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium in Round 5.
Fremantle were unlikely winners today at the MCG. In a match where neither side ever looked fully in control the Dockers held their nerve and pushed harder than the Magpies in the second half. A late mark and goal to "Sonny" Walters seeing the Dockers home by four points.
Collingwood went into today’s match sitting second on the ladder and strong favorites to win at home against Fremantle. American Mason Cox remained on the sidelines with injury as Ben Reid continues to fill his spot up forward and backup Brody Grundy in the ruck.