The Greater Western Sydney Giants showed growing maturity to stave off a spirited Fremantle, to record their first ever victory against the Dockers at Domain Stadium. It was another indicator of the progress that GWS is making and of the disaster that has become the Dockers season. It is hard to imagine that the same Dockers club was considered a real premiership threat the past several seasons.
Fremantle showed their intentions early when Jonathon Griffin, booted a clever centering kick to find Chris Mayne in front of goals. Mayne marked and kicked a gaol to open Fremantle's scoring, with just first two minutes gone on the clock. This awoke the surprised Giants who promptly kicked the next four goals through, Steven Coniglio (2), Steve Johnson and "the General" Jonathon Patton. The Giants had made four direct entries into the attacking zone to score four times; and displayed the same mood as when they demolished Hawthorn the week before. But the Dockers refused to be intimidated. Michael Walters goaled and then two minutes later Hayden Crozier chipped in with the Dockers' third. Rhys Palmer then reminded his former Docker teammates that he should not have been traded, by kicking the Giants fifth goal for the quarter. At the 26-minute mark Matthew Pavlich took a strong pack mark to kick truly from 40 meters and then teammate Hayden Ballantyne leveled the game with an inspiring goal. By the end of the first quarter the crowd had witnessed an attacking brand of football, with both teams charging fiercely and kicking accurately.
The second quarter opened like the first with a quick Docker goal. This time from Nick Suban. The Dockers led for the first time since the opening three minutes of the game. The Giants then flexed their muscles and the Dockers dug in with their high-pressure defensive game. The game closed up. For the first 16 minutes it was an intriguing arm wrestle and both teams only registered minor scores. The deadlock was broken with a chain of passes that began in the Giants' back line and ended with a Rory Lobb mark. The big man kicked accurately from a sharp angle. Inspired by this, the Giants dominated the stoppages, with Shane Mumford rucking and Callan Ward and Toby Greene gathering possessions. For the next nine minutes the visitors owned the turf. They kicked four goals through Greene, Johnson, Jeremy Cameron and Jack Steel. The Dockers closed the quarter with a goal to Mayne, courtesy of a free kick. However, it was the Giants devastating nine minutes of play, which sank the Dockers.
After halftime, the Dockers fought back with Jonathon Griffin matching Mumford in the ruck and Lachie Neale, with the assistance of Steven Hill and Danyle Pearce, driving the desperate Dockers into attack. The Giants' defense, led by Phil Davis and Heath Shaw, held steady and pressured the Docker forwards. If the Dockers sank in the second quarter, they anchored themselves to the bottom in the third. They kicked 2.6 from 21 attacking entries. The Giants kicked 3.2 from seven entries. In fast breakouts Josh Kelly, Patton and Steele all scored quickly before Hayden Ballantyne was able to offer an effective reply for the Dockers. Veteran Steve Johnson closed the quarter with a goal and the Giants sat comfortably with a 22 point lead at three quarter time. Fremantle made the last seven attacking entries of the quarter, but kicked just two points. The young Giants had withstood the storm like seasoned veterans.
The last quarter continued the pattern of the third quarter. Fremantle had more of the ball but struggled to get value for effort. At the 14 minute mark, Mayne kicked truly and then Danyle Pearce performed some magic to goal from the forward pocket. The Dockers had moved within two goals of scoring an unlikely victory. The Giants steadied to hold off the Docker charge with a Johnson goal at the 20 minute mark and that ended the story for the Dockers. Tom Scully scored in the final second of the match to hammer home the Giants' statement. The Dockers were beaten, but not disgraced.
Next week, the Giants return home to meet a fading Gold Coast. They should firm their position in the top eight. The Dockers take the horror trip to meet Hawthorn in Tasmania. Hawthorn who will be in no mood to extend niceties to the Dockers. The nightmare season continues for Fremantle.
Dockers: 5.1 7.2 9.8 11.11 (77) Giants: 5.1 10.4 13.6 14.11 (95)
Dockers: Neale, Hill, D Pearce, Griffin, Walters
Giants: Coniglio, Ward, H Shaw, Mumford, Shiel
Article last changed on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 5:02 PM EDT