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Port Power Over Dockers

Powell-Pepper handballs (file photo)

The Port Adelaide Power kept a top two finish in their sights as they overcame a determined Fremantle Dockers, to score a confidence boosting win on the road. It was the first time the Power had won at Optus Stadium and they will look to maintain their momentum by entering the finals with three consecutive wins. The Dockers tried hard but were let down at times with sloppy errors in the midfield and forward line, as they trial a group of young players before their disappointing season finishes.

The Dockers started strongly by making fifteen forward entries to seven in the first quarter which was based on them winning more clearances and contested possessions than Port Adelaide. Early rewards came when Michael Frederick and Luke Jackson had scored a goal each for Fremantle by the nine minute mark. The Dockers applied elite pressure on the Power in attack and in the midfield, inhibiting Port's opportunities to move the ball. However, a perfect centering kick from Todd Marshall to Sam Powell-Pepper who marked (caught the ball) and kicked accurately from a set shot, opened Port's account at the nineteen-minute mark. Port then lifted their intensity. After a boundary throw-in in attack, Zac Butters snapped a clever goal over his shoulder to bring the scores level.

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Lions Survive in a Thriller

Neale and Serong (file photo)

The Brisbane Lions triumphed in a tight and enthralling game against the Fremantle Dockers, where the lead changed hands ten times. The Lions were fighting for a shot at the top two position after losing two of their past three matches. The win keeps them in the frame for two valuable home finals. The Dockers had the slimmest of mathematical chances of making the top eight and played with confidence after their victory in Geelong last week. It was a game where both teams played a similar game style: pressure around the ball and either careful buildups in attack, or quick transferences from defence to attack. The difference was Brisbane had an edge in the air, taking more marks (catches) than the Dockers, and the Dockers used handball and pace to run the ball into attack.

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Swans Still in the Race

Parker Kicks (file photo)

The Sydney Swans kept their finals flame flickering with a victory over the Fremantle Dockers at Optus Stadium. The game was won by their stronger bodied midfielders setting up a four goal lead in the first quarter, which the Dockers couldn't to bridge. The Dockers fielded with the most inexperienced team in the competition, with only five players who have played more than 100 games. In total games played, the Sydney team had more than two thousand more games of experience and it was their experienced players who did what needed to be done to keep the Dockers from getting back into the game.

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Dockers Damage Bombers' Belief

Jackson & Henry celebrate (file photo)

The Fremantle Dockers bounced back from a poor display against the GWS Giants to end the Essendon Bombers run of four consecutive victories. The Dockers' return to winning form started slowly with Essendon leading for most of the first quarter. The Bombers started well by winning contested possessions and out-running the Dockers to create loose players. After four minutes of play the visitors had booted two goals. The first, courtesy of a clever chip kick out of a pack by Zach Merrett, was marked (caught) by Kyle Langford. Langford's set shot was accurate. Merrett was involved two minutes later when he intercepted a Docker handball to chip to Darcy Parish, who handballed to Jye Caldwell who slotted a running goal from just thirty meters. After an initial shock, the Dockers settled and were more competitive around the ball. Despite the pressure, the visitors still won more contested possessions but the Dockers were well served by their defenders. A free kick to Sam Switkowski for a high tackle resulted in the home team's first goal after eleven minutes of play.

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Hungry Dogs Devour Dockers

Bontempelli marks (D Woodley/AFANA)

The Western Bulldogs gave their season a timely boost with a comprehensive win against the Fremantle Dockers. The Dogs showed hunger for the contested ball and with their bigger bodies in the midfield, used their tall forwards to rip the game away from the Dockers. The home team was competitive for three quarters but ultimately were punished for the lack of connect between their midfielders and their inexperienced forward line.

The Dogs dominated much of the play in the first quarter but missed shots on goal early, which kept the Dockers in the game. The Dockers made the most of their initial forward entries, which were breakouts from defense after most of the play was in the Bulldogs' forward half. Although the Dockers were winning the hit outs the Bulldogs through Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae and Tom Liberatore had the edge in clearances.

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Dockers Destroy Brave Eagles

Walters Runs (D Woodley AFANA)

The Fremantle Dockers beat the brave West Coast Eagles, in a game that could prove pivotal for both teams. West Coast had a good outing against the GWS Giants the week before, but their ageing and wounded list was no match for the Dockers who finished full of run. Although the Eagles were expected to lose, the Dockers had been out-of-sorts in their first two outings and had lost to two teams they were expected to beat. The Eagles started brightly with Tim Kelly, Andrew Gaff and Reuben Ginbey matching Andrew Brayshaw, Jaeger O'Meara and Sam Switkowski in clearances. This was despite Sean Darcy and Luke Jackson, dominating Bailey J Williams in the ruck. Darcy finished with an astonishing 52 hit-outs, Jackson had 17 and Williams only had fourteen.

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Roos Survive Docker Surge

Caleb Serong (file photo)

The North Melbourne Kangaroos survived a late surge by the Fremantle Dockers to record a thrilling one-point win. The Kangaroos led for the whole match and survived having a free kick against them close to the Dockers' goal, as the siren sounded. The umpires declared that a clearing kick from Norths' defense, crossed the boundary line after the siren sounded, and therefore could not be deemed a deliberate kick out of bounds. The umpire closest to the action then signaled the end of the game. The decision will be debated for some time and is similar to the conclusion of a game played by the Dockers in 2006 in Tasmania. That game is now referred to as "sirengate". The umpire in that controversial game did not hear the siren and allowed the game to continue for two extra minutes. The Dockers lost the lead in those two minutes. The AFL later overturned the result and handed the win to the Dockers on appeal. In this game the umpire signaled the end of the game after the ball crossed the line, however the siren sounded fractionally before the ball was out of bounds; and the Dockers can't have it both ways.  

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Dockers Stop Hot Dogs

Mundy plays last game at Optus

A weekend of enthralling finals football culminated in a stunning elimination final comeback by the Fremantle Dockers, to knock the Western Bulldogs out of the 2022 competition. The Bulldogs, who played in last year's Grand Final, were left stunned by one of the greatest comebacks seen in a modern final. The Dockers pulled themselves off the canvas and delivered a knockout in front of a record 58,982 parochial fans.

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Dockers Charge At Hawks

O'Brien Dodges Lobb

The Fremantle Dockers "out-hawked" the Hawthorn Hawks at Optus Stadium in a game that signaled the turning fortunes of the two teams. The young Dockers played a traditional Hawthorn game plan, hard at the contest when the ball was in dispute but controlling the tempo of the game when they had the ball in hand. The Dockers were patient in setting their attacks and used their plan of retaining possession and moving the ball across the ground, until an avenue of attack opened. It was a dour struggle between the backlines as the defenses for both teams held firm for most of the game. The difference between the two teams was the tenacity of the young Dockers' attack on the ball supported by their ferocious tackling.

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Hot Dockers Shock Pies

Fyfe and Moore

The Collingwood Magpies were surprised by the Fremantle Dockers with a shock defeat at Optus Stadium. The Dockers were harder at the ball and used pace to outrun their more experienced opponents, and recorded their first genuine home victory in this unusual season. A first quarter where a team failed to score would normally have a coach ranting, but Justin Longmuir was impressed with how his young players handled their higher profile opponents. What the young Dockers lacked in skill was compensated with by endeavor. They were first to the ball and won more than their share of contested possessions. A team of hungry committed players will often defeat a better credentialled team, and the Dockers showed that if a team can get enough players to the ball, the chances of winning are increased. A bit of straight kicking also helps. 

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