The Fremantle Dockers survived a late surge from Port Adelaide Power to bolster a position in the top four. In a contest that was punctuated with soaring high marks (catches) and skillful goals, the Power played for their season but fell agonizingly short. Illness and injury forced the Power to use forwards Jeremy Finlayson and Charlie Dixon in the rucking role. The Dockers took full advantage with Sean Darcy controlling the ruck and the home team dominating clearances. Caleb Serong, Ethan Hughes, Andrew Brayshaw and Darcy himself got first use of the ball 28 times throughout the day. Ollie Wines and Travis Boak did more than their bit for Port in the midfield and Darcy Byrne-Jones at half-back played an influential game, but ultimately the quick ball movement by the Dockers, through most of the match, sealed Port's fate.
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In mid-June, the AFL held their annual Hall of Fame function with eight new inductees and one previous inductee elevated to Legend status. The Legend elevation was the late Port Adelaide Magpie (SANFL) centerman Russell Ebert, who was also recently named as Port Adelaide's greatest ever player. Ebert is the 32nd player to be named a Legend. He passed away in 2021, and the award was accepted by his widow Dian.
The eight new inductees represented not only the AFL, but the state leagues and Tasmania. They are Terry Cashion, Bill Dempsey, Mike Fitzpatrick, Brent Harvey, Matthew Pavlich, Michael Taylor, Ted Tyson and Nicky Winmar.
RUSSELL EBERT - elevated to Legend status
The Hawthorn Hawks came to Optus Stadium as the underdogs but their game plan pushed the home team for most of the match. The Dockers had to work hard for the win as the Hawks applied heat around the ball and almost beat the Dockers at their own game. Fremantle welcomed back captain Nat Fyfe after a ten-month absence due to injury.
Fyfe was in the action at the first bounce down, knocking the ball from the Hawk's Sam Mitchell, which was gathered by Caleb Serong who kicked long to tall forward Rory Lobb, who marked (caught the ball) and booted the opening goal for the Dockers after just thirty seconds of play. Despite Dockers' ruckman, Sean Darcy, having the better of Hawthorn's ruckman Ned Reeves, the Hawks were able to get movement away from stoppages through solid clearance work by Conor Nash and Jaeger O'Meara.
The Fremantle Dockers absorbed a first half attack from the Brisbane Lions, to set up a third quarter break-away and run out victors by fourteen points in a pulsating game at Optus Stadium. The match had everything that makes Australian football so watchable: high marks (catches), strong tackles, open attacking play, lighting quick handpasses, sweeping transitions from defense, and skillful goal kicking. Brisbane started in a ferocious manner, intent on putting the Fremantle play makers under pressure at every opportunity. The Lions laid more tackles and won more contested possessions than the Dockers in the first half and got away to an early lead. It wasn't quite rope-a-dope, but the Dockers' game mirrored those of an experienced boxer; absorb everything that your opponent can throw at you; and then when the time is right - lay a flurry of counter punches to win on points.
The Collingwood Magpies delivered the Fremantle Dockers a lesson in wet weather football at Optus Stadium. It is the second week in a row the Dockers have floundered in rain and raises questions as to whether their high-pace, high-skill game can be adapted to wet and slippery conditions. The Magpies played traditional wet weather football where they gained territory at all costs, whether it was by kicking the ball forward along the ground or simply just knocking it forward with a fist. The Dockers played their high possession game, which fell apart with skill errors in the conditions and gifted Collingwood several goals through sloppy turnovers.
The first quarter was even with both teams booting two goals in the sodden conditions. Darcy Cameron took a solid wet-weather mark after using strength on Sean Darcy to boot the Pies' first goal. At the other end Rory Lobb kicked truly after being awarded a free kick for having his arms chopped in a marking (catching) contest. Sam Switkowski put the Dockers in front with a clever shot from the boundary line, before Brody Mihocek soccered a goal from close range for the Magpies, after a quick transition from defense.
The Fremantle Dockers played the complete team game to be convincing winners over the Carlton Blues at Optus Stadium. Both teams started cautiously by playing along the boundary lines when defending and attacking. The Dockers’ ruckman Sean Darcy had a slight edge over Carlton’s Marc Pittonet at bounce downs but Carlton’s midfielders Patrick Cripps, Sam Walsh and Adam Cerra combined well to give Carlton first use of the ball. The Carlton tactic was to kick long and high to their twin towers in attack, Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay. The Dockers lined up with three tall men in the last line of defense with Alex Pearce, Brennan Cox and Griffin Logue intent on punching the ball to prevent marks (catches).
The first quarter was an even tussle, with Matthew Owies snapping Carlton’s first goal when the ball hit the ground after a ruck contest in the forward pocket. The second goal brought Curnow into the game when he marked a centering kick from Jack Martin and kicked truly. Pittonet injured his knee in a ruck contest and retired from the game, which then gave Darcy the chance to dominate in the ruck.
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.
The Fremantle Dockers returned to the winning list by dominating the undermanned West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium. The Eagles had made thirteen changes to their side from the previous week, with several stars returning from injury and Covid protocols. However, the team appeared underdone and flat footed as they offered little resistance to the pacy young Dockers.
West Coast started well with Josh Kennedy booting a goal in the first five minutes. From there it was all Dockers apart from Eagle defenders Jeremy McGovern and Shannon Hurn, who battled manfully in defense against the Docker onslaught. It was only the Dockers’ inaccuracy in front of goals which kept the Eagles within striking distance until the eleven-minute mark of the third quarter.
The Saint Kilda Saints celebrated their first win in Perth since 2012, by outplaying and then outgunning the Fremantle Dockers. The Dockers were expected to win, but St Kilda surprised the locals with their attack on the ball and then took over in the third quarter, as Max King came to life and booted four second-half goals.
The Dockers started well by kicking accurately in the opening quarter with goals to Rory Lobb, Travis Colyer and Michael Walters. The windy conditions didn’t initially suit St Kilda who, despite matching the Dockers in the mid-field, were sloppy in attack and registered just four behinds (worth a point each). Lobb provided a high-flying target for the Dockers who consistently used the boundary to launch attacks. Saint Kilda pushed attacks straight for goal, from wherever they could win the ball, but their kicking was consistently astray.
Young forward Tyson Stengle, 23, has officially been delisted. He was originally drafted by Richmond in the 2017 rookie draft and played two games before being traded to Adelaide at the end of 2018. However, he has had several off-field indiscretions. He was originally stood down last December but was officially stood down from the club this past March and has been playing with Woodville-West Torrens since. The Adelaide Crows released a statement confirming that the player and club had come to an agreement to end Stengle's employment. Stengle kicked 15 goals in 16 games for the Crows.