In a game that lacked highlights but offered plenty of interest, the West Coast Eagles withstood a determined Fremantle Dockers to win by 13 points. The depleted Dockers threw everything they had at the reigning premiers, but in the end were defeated by their own inaccuracy in front of goal.
In mid-January, the AFL presented their annual life memberships to eight recipients. Five players and umpires were automatic recipients for having reached 300 games during the 2018 season: Ray Chamberlain, Lance Franklin, David Mundy, Scott Pendlebury and Heath Shaw. The other three were North Melbourne Team of the Century member and former North Melbourne CEO John Dugdale for Special Service to the Game, Richmond Team of the Century member and long-time Essendon Recruiting Manager Merv Keane, and SANFL Hall of Fame Inductee and Life Member Wally Miller.
Bill Hector was awarded the Jack Titus Service Award for outstanding service to football, for his 50 years’ service to the Western Bulldogs in various roles starting as a Timekeeper in 1969 to most recently being the Club’s Senior Doorman.
The Hawthorn Hawks boosted their campaign to make the 2018 finals by convincingly defeating the Fremantle Dockers. In a one-sided game the Hawks picked up valuable percentage points (based on scores kicked for and against) that could prove vital at the end of the season. The Dockers, who were already out of finals calculations, had a game where little worked for them and as they repeatedly butchered forays into their attacking zone. In contrast, the Hawks were brutal when required to contest the ball, swooped on any errors made by the rattled Dockers and clinical in their forward thrusts.
In the absence of Aaron Sandilands, Fremantle’s Luke Darcy competed well in the ruck with The Hawk’s big man, Jonathan Ceglar. Hit-out honors were even, which resulted in Lachie Neale and David Mundy matching Hawthorn’s Tom Mitchell and Jaegar O’Meara with center clearances. However, once the Dockers cleared the ball from packs, they lacked the purpose and pure intent of Hawthorn. Hawthorn would routinely work the ball wide and then make a direct assault on the full-forward zone. If Jarryd Roughead was covered, Luke Breust was available for a chip pass, Ryan Schoenmakers was setting himself to fly, or Jack Gunston was lurking at the back of a pack. The Hawks simply had too many forward weapons for the Dockers to cover.
The Fremantle Dockers took advantage of the wet and slippery conditions at Optus Stadium to defeat Port Adelaide Power by nine points. The win meant little but pride for the Dockers, but it cost the Power a potential second spot on the ladder. As a result of the shock loss, the stunned Power have plummeted to fifth place on the ladder. The game was not pretty and was made difficult by the combination of rain and swirling winds. With their bigger and more mature bodies the visitors won more contested possessions; but the Dockers had raw hunger and pushed more players to the ball. Port could not initiate their running game as their playmakers were cramped and chased by desperate Docker tacklers.
The Power Poll returns after a few weeks hiatus as Boris was on assignment for another media outlet.
1. Greater Western Sydney Giants (Last Time - 2)
Some might point to a narrow victory at home over Collingwood and say the Giants were lucky. Deeper examination shows a team that played two players short for most of the game and three players short for the final quarter who found a way to win. A long injury list hasn’t stopped the Giants from winning. Expect a lot more.
With just 41 seconds remaining on the clock, the Fremantle Dockers snatched a win from the luckless North Melbourne Kangaroos. The Roos have now surrendered leads three times in the first five games, having lost narrowly to Geelong by one point, the Western Bulldogs by three points and now Fremantle by five points. Conversely, The Dockers have come from behind in three consecutive games to win thrillers.
For the first time in history the Western Derby was played with the two Western Australian teams in first and second positions on the Ladder.
Unfortunately for their fans, who packed Domain Stadium at their home game, they couldn’t land any telling blows and struggled to get scores on the board all the way through the first half of the game. In fact only David Mundy and Michael Walters scored goals early in what was a poor performance from the top team. In contrast the Eagles had eight separate goal kickers at the same point,
The Fremantle Dockers gradually wore down a determined Great Western Sydney Giants unit to go six premiership points clear on top of the AFL Ladder at Domain Stadium in their Round 18 clash.
Fremantle was on the scoreboard early with goals to David Mundy and Michael Walters who were both in scintillating form.
by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
In mid-November, Fremantle held its club champion awards function and - despite missing four games through suspension - midfielder Nat Fyfe was the resounding winner of the Doig Medal. It is Fyfe's second consecutive win, capping a stellar season during which he was named the AFLPA's best player and earned All-Australian selection. Fyfe polled 283 votes from his 20 appearances, 20 more than he did from two more games in 2013.
Rick Browner reporting for AFANA from Patersons Stadium, Perth
Fremantle picked a win out of the pocket of Carlton at Patersons Stadium in their Round 19 clash. Pre-game defiant Blues' coach Mick Malthouse was adamant that they weren’t in Perth to “just lay down”. Although their 2014 season has been less than impressive, Carlton had won six out of their past nine encounters in Perth so they had some reason to feel confident. The Dockers brought their "A Team" to the encounter after an embarrassing humiliation in their last game against St Kilda and the Dockers needed every man as the match went down to the last 40 seconds to decide the winner.