Two weeks ago at Patersons Stadium, the Fremantle Dockers played their first game against Geelong as if they were Grand Final material. In Round 3 against the Brisbane Lions they looked second rate. First blood went to the Lions with Todd Banfield awarded a free kick after Stephen Hill bamboozled himself and ran too far with the football. Brisbane was all over the more fancied home side which was hesitant in its disposals and not kicking truly when in possession of the ball. Both teams had a full court press on with their zones and the game resembled a chess match as each side tried to move the ball forward. Unfortunately it was not a Boris Spassky-Bobby Fisher level game but more like their unprepared understudies stepping into the spotlight.
Geelong won the 2011 Premiership and despite the loss of some key players to retirement, this is still a formidable side which plays well away. Nevertheless the Cats have had trouble with the Fremantle Dockers. Last year there was one nail-biting finish and the first quarter for 2012 showed that the fans were in for more of the same.
When the bottom team travels to play a team sitting in seventh position on its home turf it is generally a recipe for disaster. The Gold Coast Suns are a developing team with flashes of brilliance and two wins so far in their first season. The Fremantle Dockers wanted to celebrate the occasion of Captain Matthew Pavlich’s 250th game. “Pav” is acknowledged by many as the greatest player in the history of the Fremantle Football Club. Weather conditions were blustery, cold and wet – a rare combination in Perth, but perfect for Aussie Rules football.