The Brisbane Lions earned a morale boosting victory when they jumped a lethargic Fremantle Dockers team to end the Dockers’ slim hopes of making the finals. The Lions never looked back, as they outran and outplayed the home team which appeared half-hearted and disorganized. The Dockers lost their ruckman, Aaron Sandilands, with pulled a calf muscle in the pre-match warm-up.
The Lions ruckman, Stefan Martin, took full advantage of Sandilands’ absence by winning 46 hitouts against Sandiland’s under-prepared replacement, Michael Apeness. The Brisbane Midfielders Dayne Beams, Jarrod Berry, and Dayne Zorko made the most of Martin’s work to open up the Dockers’ defense with sure ball handling and quick ball movement.
The Lions showed more intent early and were buoyed by the opening goal by number one draft pick, Cameron Rayner, who read the ball well off hands to score from close range. At the 9-minute-mark Eric Hipwood marked a pass from Lewis Taylor, fifty meters from goal, after the Dockers had turned the ball over in the center of the ground. A careless Docker trainer then impinged on Hipwood’s space when Hipwood was preparing to kick for goal, resulting in a fifty meter penalty and a gift goal to the Lions. Hipwood was involved in the next goal, at the 22-minute mark, when he won a race to the ball in the forward pocket and kicked to Lewis Taylor who was in a better position. Taylor marked (caught) the ball and his forty meter kick was accurate. Then Jarrod Berry, playing in just his second season, used guile to convince an umpire that Andrew Brayshaw had overstepped the mark, and was awarded a fifty meter penalty to slot Brisbane’s fourth goal. Lachie Neale and Ed Langdon worked hard for the Dockers but, their delivery lacked the polish of the Brisbane midfielders. The hard running Langdon marked a Nat Fyfe pass just before the end of the first quarter. His kick after the siren resulted in the Dockers’ first goal.
Early in the second quarter, Fyfe went down with a hamstring injury. Jarrod Berry who had been shadowing Fyfe, moved to Lachie Neale and blunted Neale’s influence while also managing to launch Brisbane attacks. Nick Robinson gave good support to Beams and Berry in the middle of the ground. Michael Walters added some life to the Dockers’ midfield but Brisbane always seemed to have the answers whenever the Dockers pushed forward. Daniel Rich, Tom Cutler and Alex Witherden were strong across half back for Brisbane; and if the ball got past them, Luke Hodge provided support and direction from the last line of defense.
The third quarter saw Brisbane extend their lead and shut the Dockers out of the game. There was a lack of urgency from the Fremantle players who allowed the Lions too much space in the middle of the ground. Daniel McStay took some good marks for the Lions and finished with three goals and Lewis Taylor found space too easily and also finished with three goals for the game. Hugh McLuggage gathered plenty of possessions and laid seven tackles as a defensive forward, to keep the Dockers’ Stephen Hill quiet. A lack of run from defense and a lack of organization in the middle of the ground meant the Dockers struggled to have an impact up forward. When the ball was turned over the Dockers did not have the run to go with the Brisbane midfielders.
The highlights for the Dockers were few and far between. A coast-to-coast chain of passes finished by David Mundy for a goal; and a good snap by Hayden Ballantyne in the final quarter, gave the home supporters some minor joy; but the genuine highlights belonged to the young Brisbane Lions. The Lions have pushed a number of quality teams this season, but have lacked the final bite to win close games. The win against the Dockers suggests the Lions will now win a few more games, particularly if their opposition is not switched on and allows them space, as the Dockers did at Optus.
Next week the Lions return to the Gabba to face the Carlton Blues. The Lions have tasted blood and will be keen to maintain their momentum and avoid the wooden spoon. The Dockers will travel to the warm weather of Darwin to meet the Melbourne Demons at TIO Stadium. The Demons will be seething after a narrow loss to the Saints and should redeem themselves against the undermanned Dockers.
Scores Fremantle Dockers: 1.4 3.6 6.9 9.10 (64) Brisbane Lions: 4.3 7.6 13.8 18.11 (119) Best Fremantle Dockers: Neale, Walters, Langdon, Mundy, Brayshaw Brisbane Lions: Beams, Robertson, McLuggage, Berry, Zorko
Article last changed on Monday, July 02, 2018 - 2:22 AM EDT