Fremantle has sacked Coach Ross Lyon. the departure was immediate and he did not coach Round 23. Also departing is CEO Steven Rosich after he and the board came to a mutual agreement. Docker president Dale Adcock said that the process of renewal was needed, as was new leadership. He continued by saying the club not making finals for the past four years was unacceptable. Assistant coach David Hale coached the team for the final round of the year. Chief Operating Officer Graeme Parker will act as interim CEO until a permanent CEO is brought in. Internal and external candidates will be assessed for both roles.
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Carlton's Dale Thomas and Fremantle's Hayden Ballantyne were both informed by their respective clubs that they would not be offered contracts for 2020. Thomas, 32, announced his retirement at the time. However, after Carlton's win over the Saints, he said he would consider offers from other clubs. He played game 100 as a Blue in Round 22 after crossing from Collingwood where he played 156 games including the 2010 premiership. He was named All-Australian in 2011.
Thomas said he was content with his decision, “While this is something I didn’t want to hear, I was realistic that it was a chance ... I also understand the direction the club is going ... I have experienced so much in my career since walking in as a blond-haired kid ... in 2005. The opportunity to live out my boyhood dream ... I am proud of everything I’ve been able to achieve."
Just ahead or Round 22, giant Docker ruckman Aaron Sandilands, 36, announced that 2019 would be his final season. His farewell game to fans will be Round 22 against Essendon. He was drafted in 2002 and holds the record for hitouts with 8,466 in 270 games, averaging 28 per game. Sandilands has battled calf injuries this year and has played just five games ahead of Round 22. He will place third on the Dockers' games list behind Matthew Pavlich (353), and David Mundy (314 through Round 21).
A member of the club's leadership group for the past 10 years, he has also been a key driver behind the club's Starlight Foundation, which raises money for seriously ill children and their families. He has been an ambassador for Starlight Purple Haze Game since 2007. In that time, he has helped raise over $1.5 million for the foundation.
Sydney stalwart Jarrad McVeigh has announced he would retire at the end of the season. McVeigh, 34, has played just five games this season due to quad, hamstring, and calf injuries. His last AFL game was Round 12. He was on the comeback trail through the NEAFL but strained a calf. He is still hopeful of a final farewell game in Round 23. McVeigh also thought of playing on in 2020, but the latest setback told him otherwise.
McVeigh was drafted in 2002 and has been a key to the team's recent success of 15 finals series and five Grand Finals. His 324 games is just one shy of former teammate Jude Bolton (323) and he is just one of four Swans to play 300 games, the others being Adam Goodes (372) and Michael O'Loughlin (303). And he will go down as one of the most decorated and influential players in the club's history.
The Fremantle Dockers produced one of the shocks of the season by knocking over the competition's top team, the Geelong Cats. The Cats' quest for a home final is on shaky ground. For the Dockers, it keeps alive their slim chance of making the finals. The undermanned Dockers went into the game without a recognized tall forward, and instead gambled on pace and pressure around the ball. Perhaps this was a lesson learned from a hammering they received from the Western Bulldogs in their last game.
The game began as expected with the Cats getting straight down to business with Joel Selwood kicking to Tom Hawkins who took a contested mark (catch) at the top of the goal square, to open the Cat's account after just two minutes of play.
The Fremantle Dockers defeated the Sydney Swans by the smallest of margins to keep Fremantle's slim chance of making the finals alive. The Swans bowed out of the finals race last week, a rare event for the Swans. It is even rarer for it to happen with six matches to play. The Dockers' season was hanging on by the thread of statistical possibility, but it was the Swans who played as if they were desperate to make the finals. The Dockers played like a team that finally got desperate.
In Western Derby Number 50, the West Coast Eagles annihilated the inaccurate Fremantle Dockers to move to second on the AFL ladder and place a huge question mark over the Fremantle Dockers' finals hopes. After a slow start to the season the Eagles have hit their straps in their quest for back-to-back Premierships, with perhaps Geelong as the only team that can stand in their way.
The first quarter had the hallmarks of a tough ‘Derby’. It was a tight struggle, with defenses on top and forwards under pressure and missing "gettable" goals. It took eight minutes for the first goal to be scored. Jamie Cripps slotted a major (goal worth 6 points) for West Coast after marking (catching) a centering kick from Liam Ryan. It took another eight minutes for the next goal, which was a skudding 30-meter soccered goal by the Eagles' forward, Willie Rioli. The warning signs were there for the Dockers in the second half of the quarter.
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.