The Fremantle Dockers wore down the Brisbane Lions to post a season-reviving home win, with a dramatic kick after the final siren. In a match where the lead changed nine times, it was the desperate Dockers who did enough in the final quarter, to draw level with the Lions and then score the winning point when Michael Walters’ set shot hit the post. That single point, for hitting the post, made for a walk-off win.
The Lions started positively and immediately pushed into attack, only to register a behind (worth one point). The Dockers then launched two unsuccessful entries into their attacking zone, before Andrew Brayshaw read the ball off-hands to sneak through the first goal of the match. The fight to get hands on leather was intense all over the ground and it took another seven minutes of the ball moving from one end to the other, before Charlie Cameron received a handball from Daniel McStay and snapped the Lions first major score (a goal worth 6 points). The next goal scored was also Brisbane’s. Jarryd Lyon booted with precision into space to allow Cameron to use his pace and bounce one through from 40 meters. The Dockers responded three minutes later with a goal to Adam Cerra; but the quarter belonged to Cameron as he notched his third for the Lions at the 23-minute mark, which was quickly followed by one from Hugh McLuggage. Not to be outdone, Adam Cerra successfully tackled Darcy Gardiner, retrieved the ball and slotted his second goal just before the end of the quarter. The Dockers had made more forward entries, but the visitors had been more effective with their scoring.
In the second quarter the teams changed roles. Brisbane launched most of the attacks, but it was the Dockers who reaped the rewards when they moved forward. Both teams defended desperately with the smothering of kicks an unusual highlight. Brisbane bombed long kicks to tall forwards Oscar McInerney and Daniel McStay, but their marks (catches) where easily spoiled by Docker defenders Alex Pearce and Joel Hamling. As with the first quarter, it was the small forwards who did the bulk of the scoring.
The exception was Docker ruckman Rory Lobb, who took a strong overhead mark and then kicked truly early in the quarter to keep the Dockers in touch. Luke Ryan played an outstanding game in defense for Fremantle and intercepted numerous Brisbane attacks. At the other end, Harris Andrews had thrown a blanket over the Dockers’ main target, Jesse Hogan. The only other goal for the quarter was booted by Brandon Matera who found space after Darcy Tucker booted the ball for Matera to chase it into half-forward. Matera used his pace and kicked truly from 50 meters, to see the home team down by one point at the main break.
Play opened up in the third quarter as teams ran the ball out of their respective defenses to generate attacks. An early defensive mis-kick by Lobb gifted Lewis Taylor of the Lions their first goal for the quarter. The Dockers ramped up their tackling pressure on the Brisbane midfielders with Bradley Hill, and Nathan Wilson also providing plenty of run and long kicking from defense. When Brendan Cox nailed a major after a dubious mark halfway through the quarter, the Dockers looked set to break free. The Lions responded at the next center bounce with a long kick from Dane Zorko, which was marked by McStay who kicked truly. A midfield turnover and then a free kick to Mitchell Hinge saw the Lions back in front before Dockers’ captain Nat Fyfe used strength against former teammate, Lachie Neale, to mark in the goal square and kick truly. The Lions then finished the quarter with McInerney marking and converting and Dane Zorko kicking truly from a free kick after he was rewarded for tackling Joel Hamling.
The Lions’ tactic in the final quarter was to slow down the pace of the game and preserve their eleven-point lead. Two early Lion movements forward resulted in behinds (worth a point each), as the Dockers defended grimly. Then, from the eight-minute mark the Lions put up the shutters and the Dockers locked the ball in their own attacking zone.
The deadlock was broken at the 17-minute mark when Bradley Hill hacked a ball forward out of a pack and Walters marked and converted from 40 meters. Hugh McCluggage, Neale, and Daniel Rich gave their all for Brisbane as spectators were treated to nine minutes of nail-biting football. The Dockers inched forward but could not find the big opening. A missed shot by Fyfe saw the ball bounce off hands to record a rushed behind, which leveled the score with less than two minutes to play. With thirty seconds to play David Mundy won a contested ball for the Dockers and kicked to Luke Ryan, who hand passed to Ed Langdon. Langdon’s considered kick found Walters who marked 40 meters out. Walters’ shot on goal missed but hit the post for a behind, and resuscitated the Dockers’ stuttering season and cruelly knocked Brisbane out of the top four to sixth place on the ladder.
Next week, the Lions have a chance to make amends, when they return home to host Hawthorn Hawks. The Dockers have the daunting prospect of meeting the Collingwood Magpies at the MCG.
Scores Fremantle Dockers: 3.4 5.6 9.7 10.13 (73) Brisbane Lions: 5.2 5.7 10.9 10.12 (72) Best Fremantle: Ryan, B. Hill, Fyfe, Wilson, Walters Brisbane Lions: McCluggage, Neale, Andrews, Zorko, Lyons
Article last changed on Monday, May 27, 2019 - 12:42 PM EDT