Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth
Coming off their first win of the season last round, the Greater Western Sydney Giants were brutalized by a rampant Fremantle Dockers team in their Round 20 clash. GWS won the toss and inexplicably kicked into a breeze that was worth at least a couple of goals. Fremantle started with a bang when Nick Suban kicked their first goal within 30 seconds of the bounce down. They were pressuring the exits from the back line with precision and the GIants were finding it hard to hit up targets as they tried to move forward. It was intense football from the home team with an avalanche of goals the result. Michael Walters scored the next goal with his uncanny sense of where the big sticks are, snapping truly off his left foot from 40 meters out. The Giants were rattled and gave up three more goals due to Docker intensity at the ball. Hayden Ballantyne, Chris Mayne and Lachie Neal all registered goals to have six different goal scorers at that stage of the game. Three of those six goals came from turnovers by a struggling GWS. It could have been a lot worse as the Dockers kicked seven behinds to go with those goals. GWS had limited opportunities to score including one shot from Jonathan Giles that hit the post. The luckless Giants had failed to score a goal in the quarter and trailed by a whopping 40 points at the change.
Fremantle started where they left off when Paul Duffield benefited from a 50 meter penalty and slotted their seventh goal. However, from that point on it was as if someone had pressed the snooze button on the Dockers because GWS proceeded to give them a lesson in winning the ball. Sometimes a team can get too far ahead too early and the Giants took advantage of some lax efforts by Fremantle to pile on the next five goals in a row. Jeremy Cameron was their standout at full forward with three. He was ably supported by Curtley Hampton and Devon Smith, who chipped in a goal apiece. It was Fremantle’s turn to struggle bringing the ball out of the back half as they were faced some spirited attacking by their younger opponents. Whilst the Giants were not winning the match, they were dominant in the clearances and tackle count and were not laying down and rolling over by any means. It wasn’t until there were eight seconds to go in the quarter that Tom Sheridan took a mark and goaled to steady the Fremantle ship. The Dockers went into half time 24 points ahead.
There must have been some fiery words at the half time break because Fremantle came out with renewed vigor and took the Giants apart. There was more urgency about their play and the senior players were answering the call to arms. The Giants reverted to their old ways of turning the ball over at critical times and were soon floundering under a bashing of monumental proportions. Ballantyne put himself into contention for goal of the year when he received the ball on the wing at the half way line. He took off, bouncing the ball and was unstoppable all the way to the 30 meter area where he finished off with a goal.* GWS had a golden chance for a goal overturned with a reversal by the umpire for some rough play off the ball. The Dockers rubbed salt into the wound by taking the ball down the other end and scoring yet another goal. The three quarter break couldn’t come quickly enough for the Giants who trailed by a humiliating 67 points.
With the game a foregone conclusion, Cameron scored his fourth goal of the match early in the final term. It would prove to be the only goal scored in the second half by GWS, but it was party time for the Dockers. They were bulldozing their opponents with a tidal wave of purple at the ball. When Ryan Crowley popped up in the forward zone for his first goal, there had been 15 different goal scorers for the Dockers. The AFL all-time record was 16 and for the rest of the match the only interest in the game was whether Fremantle could equal or beat it. It was not to be as the Dockers ran out winners by a huge 113 point margin.
With the boost in percentage Fremantle is knocking on the door of a certain Top Four finish, with a real chance of a finish in second place on the Ladder. GWS are certain winners of the Wooden Spoon but have showed some grit and good tackling this year. For a young side it is a baptism of fire that will only temper their steel for the next season.
Scoreboard GWS: 0.3 5.3 5.5 6.8 (44) Fremantle: 6.7 8.9 15.12 24.13 (157) Best players GWS: Ward, Cameron, Mohr, Greene Fremantle: Suban, Clarke, Barlow, Mayne, Neale
Ballantyne's goal can be viewed at: http://www.afl.com.au/video/2013-08-11/catch-ballantyne-if-you-can
Article last changed on Monday, September 24, 2018 - 3:12 AM EDT