The Fremantle Dockers produced one of the shocks of the season by knocking over the competition's top team, the Geelong Cats. The Cats' quest for a home final is on shaky ground. For the Dockers, it keeps alive their slim chance of making the finals. The undermanned Dockers went into the game without a recognized tall forward, and instead gambled on pace and pressure around the ball. Perhaps this was a lesson learned from a hammering they received from the Western Bulldogs in their last game.
The game began as expected with the Cats getting straight down to business with Joel Selwood kicking to Tom Hawkins who took a contested mark (catch) at the top of the goal square, to open the Cat's account after just two minutes of play.
The Dockers responded with attacks but were off target to register behinds (worth a point each). Then small wingman, Zac Langdon, produced some magic to score the Dockers' first goal. Hawkins responded by booting his second after eleven minutes of play, in similar circumstances to his first goal, using strength to mark a Tom Atkins pass. The big forward's muscle and skill seemed too much for his immediate opponent, Joel Hamling.
A goal from Jordan Clark at the twenty-three minute mark, after some strong work from Patrick Dangerfield, kept the Cats purring. Two minutes later Young Docker Andrew Brayshaw showed class to kick truly and keep the Dockers in touch. The Cats answered with two quick goals to finish the quarter well in control.
A change came over the game in the second quarter. The Dockers used run and carry to unsettle the visitors. A coast to coast transition which finished with a goal to small forward Mitch Crowden placed the Cats in the temporary role of spectators. The Cats responded four minutes later with Hawkins taking a mark and passing to an unattended Gary Ablett who goaled from close range. The Cats launched more attacks, but the Docker defenders spoiled with regularity and the smaller Fremantle players swept the ball out of danger. A goal to Bailey Banfield at the fifteen minute mark gave the home team belief. Brad Hill's run disrupted Geelong's midfield system and two late goals to Mitchell Crowden and Sean Darcy gave the home team a halftime lead of three points.
The Cats regenerated at the main break and came out firing with consecutive goals to Tim Kelly and Gary Rohan to put Geelong back in front. At the nine minute mark Nat Fyfe took at big mark and converted to steady the Dockers. The dominance of Aaron Sandilands in the ruck allowed Michael Walters, Brayshaw and Fyfe to push the Dockers into repeated attacks.
The run and pressure from unheralded Docker players such as Sam Switkowski, Lachie Schulz and Crowden kept the Geelong stars Tim Kelly, Ablett, Selwood and Dangerfield on a leash. A Walters goal at the fourteen minute mark; and another to Fyfe after Hill tore through the center, had the Dockers primed for an upset victory.
The Dockers dominated the final quarter with run and pressure on the ball carrier. Goals to David Mundy, Brandon Matera, Langdon and defender Taylin Duman put the result beyond doubt. A late long goal from Cameron Guthrie was the only highlight for the visitors. Not to be outdone, Docker veteran David Mundy coolly booted the final goal of the match from the boundary line, with little over a minute left on the clock.
The Cats have now lost four of their last seven games and return home to meet a resurgent North Melbourne Kangaroos. Another loss will cause Geelong serious problems. The Dockers travel to Marvel Stadium to meet the St Kilda Saints who are now out of the race for the finals.
Scores Fremantle Dockers: 2.4 6.7 9.8 14.11 (95) Geelong Cats: 5.1 6.4 8.6 9.7 (61) Best Fremantle Dockers: Walters, Langdon, Fyfe, Sandilands, B. Hill Geelong Cats: Stewart, Kelly, Duncan, Guthrie, Ablett
Article last changed on Sunday, August 04, 2019 - 11:28 AM EDT