Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth
Dockers players (and supporters) find themselves in the heady environs of the top of the Ladder after a comprehensive belting of the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Patersons Stadium in Round 13. In wet and blustery conditions, the football was average at times and the Kangaroos never really left the starting blocks after a dismal first quarter.
North could not find a path to goal at all. Their tackling was ferocious however and they had the Dockers on the back foot for about the first ten minutes of the game. However once they settled and adjusted to the pace, Fremantle began to move the ball forward and started to pepper the goals. The weather made for some inaccurate kicking and the Dockers wasted some gettable shots to tally up three behinds. North, on the other hand, could manage only two of their own, registering a paltry score when the quarter ended. It was only seconds before the siren that Fremantle kicked their only goal after Michael Barlow soccered the ball off the mud for a major and a seven point lead.
With the second quarter underway, the Dockers began to assert their dominance on the game. They were first to the ball and looking more skilled in the conditions. It was unfortunate that their good work came undone early in the piece when they turned the ball over in their half back line. The fumble gave the Kangaroos a rare opportunity to kick on goal and Aaron Mullett took his chance and kicked truly for North's first and only goal for the half. Fremantle applied the screws and started to attack the Kangaroos' forward line relentlessly. Four goals followed in quick order to have the Dockers take a commanding 27 point lead into the half time break. Each goal had been scored by a different kicker which was evidence of the Dockers' potency in the forward line.
North players were more competitive after the break and veteran Boomer Harvey had their second goal for the game after he took a courageous mark and kicked truly from straight in front.He blotted his copybook soon after when he gave away a fifty meter penalty to have Michael Johnson even the ledger with his goal. It was not for lack of trying on the Kangaroos' part but they found themselves getting nowhere in the contest. It was the constant threat of tackling by their determined Fremantle opponents had them looking over their shoulders and often taking a hurried and invariably wrong option as they tried to move the ball to their teammates. It took some luck and a blatant miss by the boundary umpire when the ball was clearly over the line - obvious to everyone in the stadium but for him - for North to score their next goal. The Kangaroos’ substitute, Brad McKenzie was the one to do the damage to keep the Roos at least even in the quarter for goals scored. Nick Suban was on the end of a slick chain of hand passes to score a goal for the Dockers close to the three quarter siren which gave them a 23 point lead at the break.
Fremantle made their substitution with Hayden Crozier coming on for Jack Hannath to give them a bit more zip around the ground. Fatigue had set in after the energy sapping stoppages of the earlier quarters and there were skill errors from both sides. North again scored first to give them some semblance of hope but from there on it was pretty much one way traffic for the Dockers as they pounded the Roos, kicking the last three goals of the match to seal a comfortable win.
In a bizarre footnote to the game, Ryan Crowley was cited by the Match Review panel for pinching Brent Harvey throughout the match. In spite of taking his case to the Tribunal, Crowley did not convince the powers that be of his innocence and he received a hefty fine for his trouble. North Melbourne is adrift at the lower end of the table with its Finals' aspirations all but finished, while the now third placed Fremantle is a real chance to finish the season in the Top Four with a favorable draw in the final rounds.
Scoreboard Fremantle: 1.3 5.6 7.6 10.7 (67) North Melbourne: 0.2 1.3 3.5 4.5 (29) Best players Fremantle: Clarke, McPharlin, Barlow, Fyfe, Crowley North Melbourne: Swallow, Gibson, Atley, Mullett
Article last changed on Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 8:26 AM EDT