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Andrew Brayshaw
Andrea Brayshaw (Dave Woodley/AFANA)

The Fremantle Dockers held off the determined Gold Coast Suns in a desperate battle for a position in the top eight. The game was crucial to both teams who were outside the top eight at the start of play. The twenty-point win elevated the Dockers into fifth position on the ladder and pushed the Suns down to twelfth. The Suns started the game with a sense of urgency. In the first ten minutes they had won more contested possessions and made more forward entries than the Dockers to have two early goals on the board to big forwards Sam Day and Jack Lukosius. Sam Rowell was powerful at center bounces and along with Noah Anderson, gave the visitors early use of the ball. Heath Chapman defended well for the Dockers to stop several Sun incursions. After the two Sun goals, the Dockers increased the pressure at stoppages. Caleb Serong, Sean Darcy, and Andrew Brayshaw won more clearances. The game flowed from end to end with open play, good kicking and marking (catching) a highlight. The Dockers' tactic of bombing long balls into the forward line was nullified by Suns' defender Sam Collins who dominated in the air. It was not until the twenty-one-minute mark that Docker midfielder Hayden Young snapped the Dockers' first goal after some strong work amongst a pack of defenders. A minute later Josh Treacy flew above a pack to mark and boot the Dockers second goal, to give them the lead at the first break.

Josh Treacy
Josh Treacy (Dave Woodley/AFANA)

The second quarter opened with a Docker center clearance involving Young, Brayshaw and Darcy resulting in Michael Frederick marking and converting in the first minute. This was followed three minutes later when Docker midfielder Matthew Johnson showed poise under pressure to kick to Serong who marked in front of goals and added the Dockers' second goal for the quarter. The Dockers played a direct open style of play, by moving quickly from defense and usually finding Young in the center of the ground, who used his elite kicking skills to find forwards. Both teams raised the pressure in the midfield and the Gold Coast defense of Mac Andrew, Wil Powell and Sam Collins kept the Dockers under control until a searching kick from Young allowed Treacy to fly and mark, to boot the Dockers fifth goal. The Suns lacked the speed of the Dockers' outside runners.The game looked like getting away from the Suns but with four minutes left, a quick transference from defense through the middle of the ground ended with Sam Day, who marked and kicked a solid fifty-two meter goal. This was answered by a well-weighted Johnson kick to Sam Sturt who marked and goaled for the Dockers in the last minute.

After the main break a Suns' attack was intercepted by Luke Ryan who released a long handball to Jordan Clark, who lit up the stadium with a scintillating five-bounce run down the wing, from the defensive arc to the attacking arc, where he passed to Brayshaw who marked and goaled. Two minutes later Darcy goaled from a free kick and the Suns were in real trouble. With a clearance at the restart, the Suns attacked, and Veteran David Swallow snapped a clever left foot goal to inspire the visitors. The Dockers responded at the next bounce with Darcy scrambling a kick to Young who marked and kicked truly. The home team had plenty of the ball through Brayshaw, Serong, Young and Darcy dominating in the midfield, but poor goal shooting stopped them from putting Gold Coast away. However, in the second half of the quarter Witts lifted in the ruck. Rowell began to win clearances again and Touk Miller, Sam Flanders with Noah Anderson repeatedly drove the Suns into attack. Wil Powell also dominated the air in the last line of defense and gained plenty of the ball to frustrate the Dockers' attacks. The Suns won more contested possessions and tackled more, and the Dockers looked unsettled. Goals to Lukosius and Will Graham brought the visitors back to life. The Dockers responded with five minutes to go when Treacy marked strongly against Mac Andrew and speared a pass to Sturt who converted from a set shot.

Bodhi Uwland
Bodhi Uwland (Dave Woodley/AFANA)

The Suns started the final stanza with a contested mark to Sam Day who goaled. Knowing that the Dockers did not finish their last game well, the Suns smelt blood and ramped up the pressure around the ball. A perfect kick from Miller found Swallow who marked and kicked truly. The Dockers pushed forward to see Young score a goal from a free kick, but with Alex Pearce and Treacy off the ground through injury the Dockers looked vulnerable, especially when Gold Coast charged through the center after the restart; and Miller's searing kick found Ben Long, who marked and goaled from point blank range. At the twenty-minute mark the Suns were firing. Forward pressure from Long and Miller caused a turnover where Lukosius handballed to Ellis who snapped a goal off one step, to bring the visitors within fifteen points with six minutes to play. The Dockers battened down the hatches and when Serong passed to Jaeger O'Meara who marked and used up valuable time to score the final goal with three minutes to go, the Suns were done. The game was won by the Dockers applying pressure around the ball and the Suns' lack of outside run and their inability to convert from their forward attacks. 

The Dockers have a six-day break and fly five hours to Sydney, to meet the rampaging Sydney Swans next Saturday. A win against the rampant Swans on their home turf is unlikely, but not totally off the cards. The Suns return to the Gold Coast to play the Collingwood Magpies on the same day. A wet greasy day may help the Suns win an upset against the strengthening Magpies, although this too is unlikely.

Fremantle Dockers: 2.3  6.7  10.12  12.13 (85)
Gold Coast Suns:   2.0  3.2   6.2   10.5  (65)

Fremantle Dockers: Brayshaw, Darcy, Young, Serong, Clark
Gold Coast Suns:   Miller, Powell, Flanders, Rowell, Collins

Fremantle Dockers: Young 3, Sturt, Treacy 2, Brayshaw, Darcy, Frederick, O'Meara
Gold Coast Suns:   Day 3, Lukosius 2, Swallow 2, Ellis, Graham, Long


Article last changed on Tuesday, June 25, 2024 - 1:25 PM EDT

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