Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth
Fremantle kept its Finals' hopes intact with a convincing win over the Brisbane Lions at Patersons Stadium in Round 14. The Dockers were without Michael Barlow who pulled up sore after his comeback game last week, but Alex Silvagni was back to add some muscle in defense. Brisbane had been doing well since the return of bruising full forward and captain Jonathon Brown, but had their worries without classy midfielder Drew Banfield in the team.
The umpires were red hot on holding the ball decisions, awarding many free kicks in the first quarter. Brown started with dash, kicking the first two goals, one as a result of a free kick against Matthew Pavlich right in front of goal. Ryan Crowley goaled for the Dockers after a strong mark 30 yards out. Each team was making skill errors in the wet, slippery conditions, but both were running to give team mates a target. Daniel Rich, back on his home turf, kicked a confident 55 yard goal to punish the Dockers for their wasteful attempts in front of the big sticks at the other end of the ground. Bryce Retzlaff took a great mark and kicked a goal for Brisbane, but it was Chris Mayne who took the honors in the dying minutes of the quarter. He was inspirational as he tackled and took the ball to ground to enable Pavlich to kick a 60 yard goal. The missed shots in front of goals had cost Fremantle badly. They had seven scoring opportunities to five but found themselves trailing by eight points at the break.
Pavlich began to find some of his old form and provided a spearhead in the Fremantle attacking zone. Although the Lions were dominating the ball clearances seven to one, their 52% kicking efficiency was letting them down. Rich kicked the Lions’ first goal for the term, but the Dockers answered with two and were starting to dominate on the scoreboard. Patrick Karnezis, in only his third game for Brisbane, took the game on and goaled after a good run and mark in the forward pocket. James Polkinghorne added another after some confusion by Fremantle in the back half and the visitors began to dominate the game. They went into the long break 11 points up and had the momentum when the siren sounded.
Fremantle kicked the first two goals of the second half to get the game back on an even keel. Michael Johnson was relishing his chance to play forward and snapped a goal from 40 yards out. Greg Broughton converted next on the end of a good handball from Pavlich. Rowan Bewick steadied Brisbane with a goal while Clayton Hinkley goaled for Fremantle to make the most of his chances in only his fifth game. When Pavlich kicked his fourth goal, the crowd sensed a Fremantle win and started the “Freo, Freo” chant. They were soon silenced when Jack Reddin stood front and square in a marking contest and kicked a crumbing goal. Karnezis was substituted for rookie Ryan Harwood to give the Lions a bit more run in the center. Pavlich kicked his fifth goal while Tom Rockliff evened it up after a free kick given up by Dylan Roberton. Fremantle won the third quarter to take a slender three point lead into the final term.
In this match it was the fourth quarter that decided the result. The Dockers had not won a final quarter in their past six matches but this all changed in an instant. Fremantle were all over their opponents with 17 to two inside 50 meters, ten to zero scoring shots, ten to two clearances, 39 to 15 disposals and 20 to seven contested possessions in this quarter alone. In effect, the Dockers buried the Lions who could not get their hands on the ball. Brisbane had 12 players who did not get a ball disposal during the quarter. Broughton kicked his second goal after a poor kick-in by Ashley McGrath. Brisbane looked all at sea and when Nick Lower kicked Fremantle’s 12th goal, the game was over. If Fremantle had kicked straighter, the result would have been decided much earlier.
The only down side of the game for the home side was the recurrence of Aaron Sandilands’ foot injury, which threatens to put him out of the game for another month. The Dockers struggle to win when he is not in the team so fans are hoping for the minimum time out. With a relatively easy game next week against the Gold Coast Suns and then a bye, Fremantle should get their season back on track. Brisbane’s season appears well and truly over and they now must look to blooding some junior players to give them the confidence and experience to play in the big league.
To look at Dave Woodley's photos of this game, go to:
Scoreboard Fremantle: 2.5 5.6 10.8 12.16 (88) Brisbane: 4.1 7.5 10.5 10.5 (65) Best Players Fremantle: M Pavlich, G Broughton, N Fyfe, A Silvagni, C Mayne Brisbane: S Black, B Stiller, A McGrath, D Rich, T Rockliff
Article last changed on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 9:35 PM EDT