Michael Walters’ four goals were the difference in the Fremantle Dockers narrow win over the Collingwood Magpies at Domain Stadium in the west in Round 13. It was a hard fought game and the result was contested right up to the final siren. Walters kicked his first goal within 30 seconds of the bouncedown but from there on the Magpies had the upper hand.
Victorian teams have taken a leaf out of the Richmond playbook when they travel west to take on Fremantle at home. Richmond is the only team to have beaten the Dockers at home this season and adapted their game to the combat the Dockers playing style. Collingwood did much the same by using accurate short passing, maintaining possession and slowing the game down. Fremantle could not shake the Magpies as they tried in vain to get their running game going. Fremantle also faced some determined tackling pressure that had them rattled and on the back foot for the first part of the quarter. Their superstar Nate Fyfe had been well blanketed and the story was telling on the scoreboard with seven scoring shots to two against them. Stephen Hill was allowed some space while the Magpies had the hobbles on Fyfe and he made the most of it with some good running and skilled play. His goal late in the first quarter sparked a comeback and there was only two points the difference at the first break.
Aggression seemed to be the key word for Collingwood as they worked hard in preventing Fremantle from moving forward out of defense. Every time a Docker player had the ball he was surrounded and tackled by the Magpie army, making accurate disposals difficult. Conversely when Collingwood had the ball and were tackled they made the interesting decision to handball up into the air. Their teammates were expecting this while the Dockers men were looking for the ball in the usual place and as a result Collingwood was moving the ball with more precision in close confines.
Alex Fasolo was making life difficult for Fremantle and he popped up for two goals to give his team a significant 14 point lead. The Dockers cut it back booting three goals in a row with Walters, Hill and Fyfe each scoring their second for the match. Collingwood have found a future star in Jordan De Goey. His poise and skill for such an inexperienced player earned him the admiration of his teammates, topped off by a great goal and a goal assist to have his side right in the match.
Both teams would not give an inch after the main break and the game locked down with neither team able to do any scoring. It wasn’t until late in the third quarter that both teams scored a couple each, including one to the quick snap master Michael Walters. Walters’ goals were particularly telling as they happened late in each quarter and gave the Dockers momentum after each break. It was all even as the final term started.
Around the ball the pressure was unbelievably intense as players went in hard and tough. Ruckman Aaron Sandilands at 7 feet tall may get more fatigued as the game goes on but he doesn’t get any shorter. He started to dominate the center clearances in the middle parts of the quarter that saw Fremantle with more possession and chances to score. Each team scored two goals and it was anyone’s game with minutes left to play. Jesse White missed a sitter from 20 meters out when he was awarded a free kick that would have brought it back to a two point game with seconds left.
Fremantle managed to fall over the line by seven points, but take nothing away from Collingwood. If they play the way they did in the upcoming weeks they will be a true force to reckon with going into the last part of the season.
Scoreboard Fremantle: 3.2 7.4 9.6 12.8 (80) Collingwood: 3.4 7.6 9.6 11.7 (73) Best Players Fremantle: Walters, Hill, Fyfe, Mundy, Sandilands Collingwood: Pendlebury, Swan, Varcoe, Blair, Crisp
Article last changed on Monday, May 28, 2018 - 5:36 PM EDT