The Collingwood Magpies had to battle until the dying minutes of the match to pull off a narrow win over a spirited Fremantle Dockers side and lock up a top four position at the end of the home and away rounds. Fremantle took the game right up to the Pies, who traveled west in one of their rare forays across the country. It was Michael Johnson’s last appearance in a distinguished 244 game career, and his teammates dug in for him to nearly cause a "boil-over".
In stormy and wet conditions, the Richmond Tigers continued their resurgence as they accounted for a struggling Fremantle. The Dockers were the talk of the competition last year by winning first nine games. This year they have drawn unwelcome focus by losing their first nine games.
Sydney players will be kicking themselves after letting the First Qualifying Final slip out of their grasp against the Fremantle Dockers. The Swans' inaccurate kicking on goal let them down - they kicked 18 points, two of them within minutes of the end of the game where they could have snatched a thrilling victory. Sydney looked the better team at the end of the day and despite letting the Dockers out to a commanding lead, they were always in the hunt, right to the final siren.
Fremantle put Sydney on the back foot with four quick goals in the opening term. Small forward Michael Walters booted two of the early goals against a gale force wind favoring Sydney’s end. Sydney players were spraying the ball badly when they kicked on goals and they had six minor scores on the board before Sam Reid finally straightened one up for a goal. Sadly for Reid, it was his last major play in the game as soon after he pulled a hamstring and substitute Zac Jones made an early entry into the match.
North Melbourne was put to the sword in a one-sided contest against the Fremantle Dockers in their Round 8 clash in Perth. The visiting Kangaroos were never a threat and showed the same inconsistency that has haunted them over the past few seasons. Just when fans think that North might be a contender, the players fall and stumble at the hurdles that teams like Fremantle throw up at them. It is hard to predict which Kangaroos' side is going to take the paddock from week to week and for this game the wrong side turned up. North Melbourne was belted from pillar to post and looked second rate against a more skilled and disciplined Fremantle unit.
A couple of last minute goals to Lachie Neale and Hayden Ballantyne saw the Fremantle Dockers sneak a win over Port Adelaide Power in their Round 1 clash at Domain (formerly Patersons) Stadium in Perth. Neale’s goal was a shot on the run from 50 meters out in the last minutes of the game, while Ballantyne played on from a match winning tackle by Zac Clarke who won a free kick after chasing down Jasper Pittard in the forward 50 metre zone. A four goal contribution by Matthew Pavlich, two of which were at critical times in the final quarter, also helped the Dockers to a stirring win.
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.
Nine unanswered goals in the third quarter gave the Fremantle Dockers the breathing space to overcome a determined Port Adelaide Power in Round 23 at Patersons Stadium. It proved to be the difference in the end but the Power switched on and stormed back with five in a row of their own to give the Dockers a fright. The tendency of the Dockers to take their foot off the gas when they think they have the win was exposed.
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.